COVID-19 In Schools – Jan 20, 2022

Only 28,151 students and 4,758 staff cases of COVID-19 were reported to DESE this week. Yay?

Commissioner Jeff Riley announced a new at-home rapid antigen test complication option for districts to add to their weekly task lists. A test-at-home system will send home 1 (one) rapid test per week to students and staff who opt in and pinky promise to report positive results to their district. Districts may also continue to run pool testing, symptomatic testing, contact tracing and test-and-stay programs for close contacts.

Don’t forget the updated guidance from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the Department of Public Health (DPH) means students and educators will only have to quarantine/isolate for five days instead of ten if they have no symptoms. That is still five days of school lost for students (with no remote options) and staff (with limited options for sick time). The mask mandate has been extended until February 28, 2022.

Number of MA Students  911,465
Positive Student Cases to Date159,713 (17.3%)

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.