coronavirus

Mass. Schools Report 582 New COVID-19 Cases Among Students, Staff

A total of 373 students tested positive from Feb. 11 to Feb. 24, along with 209 school district employees. 

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Massachusetts schools reported 582 new coronavirus cases among students and staff from Feb. 11 to Feb. 24. 

The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released the numbers Thursday in its weekly COVID-19 report. A total of 373 students and 209 employees with district building access within seven days of the report tested positive. 

These numbers mark a decrease of 234 total cases from the previous week. The last report said 583 students and 325 district staff tested positive, for a total of 908 cases. 

These numbers mark a decrease of 92 total cases from the previous report released on Feb. 10. The last report said 462 students and 212 district staff tested positive, for a total of 674 cases. 

Depending on the level of coronavirus cases in their communities, school districts are either operating with in-person learning, remote learning or a hybrid of the two. 

In early November, state officials had said all Massachusetts communities in the gray, green and yellow COVID risk categories are expected to have students learning in-person, while the highest-risk red category should consider a hybrid model. 

With health metrics improving and mitigation measures in place across Massachusetts schools, Elementary and Secondary Commissioner Jeff Riley said earlier this week that it is time to begin the process of getting more students back into classrooms.

Riley said he would take a "phased approach to returning students into the classrooms, working closely with state health officials and medical experts." He said his plan would focus on elementary school students first, with the initial goal of having them learning in-person five days a week this April.

He said he would then plan to phase in middle and high school students by the end of this school year.

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