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Mass. reports 591 new coronavirus cases among public school students, 418 among school staff members

A total of 2,972 cases among students and 2,122 among staff members reported to the state since Sept. 24

School buses left after dropping off students at the Mattahunt Elementary school in Mattapan on Monday.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

During the week that ended Dec. 16, there were 591 new coronavirus cases among students and 418 among school staff members reported to the state, according to education officials.

Thursday’s report — amounting to 1,009 new cases reported overall — is the highest number of new cases reported in a single week since the start of the academic year. State officials estimate that about 450,000 students across the state are attending some form of in-person learning, and about 75,000 staff members are working in buildings.

Among the highest number of cases reported in a single district, New Bedford Public Schools reported 33 cases among students and nine among staff members, Quincy Public Schools reported 10 cases among students and 10 among staff members, and Plymouth and Shrewsbury public schools each reported 19 new cases.

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Thursday’s figures include any cases reported to the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education between Dec. 10 and 16. State education officials are not tracking when the cases occur, only when local school officials report them to the state. A weekly summary on positive cases reported at schools is published by the state each Thursday.

Starting the week that ended Oct. 21, local school districts are required to report their coronavirus cases to state education officials. The first three reports released by the state did not require districts to report their cases.

Combined, a total of 2,972 cases among students and 2,122 among staff members have been reported to the state.

Schools have not appeared to be superspreading locations for the coronavirus, state leaders have repeatedly said this fall, though they have identified at least 75 clusters. They believe about half of those clusters could have been linked to in-school transmission.