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Mass. reports 178 new coronavirus cases among public school students, 253 among school staff members from past two weeks

A total of 3,702 cases among students and 2,772 among staff members reported to the state since Sept. 24

Bates Elementary School secretary Karyn Reardon and school nurse Allison Vargas took recordings during coronavirus testing at the school on Tuesday. Salem Public Schools set up coronavirus testing sites at all their schools this week to test students and staff members after winter break.
Bates Elementary School secretary Karyn Reardon and school nurse Allison Vargas took recordings during coronavirus testing at the school on Tuesday. Salem Public Schools set up coronavirus testing sites at all their schools this week to test students and staff members after winter break.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

During the two-week period that ended Jan. 6, there were 178 new coronavirus cases among students and 253 among school staff members reported to the state, according to education officials.

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, Marshfield Public Schools reported nine coronavirus cases among students and 4 among staff members and Worcester Public Schools reported 12 cases among staff members.

Thursday’s figures include any cases reported to the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education between Dec. 24 and Jan. 6. 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, though state officials skipped Dec. 31.

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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 3,702 cases among students and 2,772 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 said in early December they had identified at least 75 clusters. They believe about half of those clusters could have been linked to in-school transmission.


Felicia Gans can be reached at felicia.gans@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @FeliciaGans.