COVID-19 In Schools – Dec 9, 2021

6,879 students and 1,105 staff members tested positive for COVID-19 in the first full week after the Thanksgiving break. The case numbers this week are more than double the number of cases in early November.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education touts the numbers of school days saved with their “test and stay” program. To date, 249,746 school days have been “saved” by keeping close contacts of cases in school until they test positive.

Meanwhile, the ten-day isolation for the 35,813 students results in eight school days missed – an estimated 286,000 in-person school days lost with limited or no options for remote learning. And those are just the days for the students who tested positive – unvaccinated asymptomatic close contacts, staff and students exposed outside of school or other staff and students who are not eligible for test-and-stay are also excluded from school for longer and not included in DESE counts.

Number of MA Students  911,465
Positive Student Cases to Date35,813 (3.7%)

Student Count: Number of reported positive cases for students who are enrolled in the school.
Staff Count: Number of reported positive cases for district staff members employed by the school district.

If a school has concerns over a spike in cases within a classroom, grade, or a school, districts and schools must notify their local board of health and must call the DESE Rapid Response Help Center at 781-338-3500.

DESE FAQ Week of November 15, 2021

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education weekly reports are available here.

You can explore the DESE guidance for school-based testing, vaccines and safety policies for public and private schools here.

Curious about more statewide COVID-19 data? The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has a comprehensive interactive dashboard with community level data on testing, hospitalizations and COVID-19 Variants. You can visit their dashboard here.