State education leaders released their latest tally of COVID-19 cases Friday, as student cases reported statewide increased to 2,640 and staff cases grew to 381 for the one-week period that ended Wednesday.
The total number of reported student cases increased by 761 in the latest report. Last week, for the one-week period that ended Nov. 3, the state reported 1,879 student cases and 339 cases among staff.
The increase comes as experts report evidence of a seasonal surge by the virus, and as some schools cope with multiplying case counts.
Boston school officials announced a 10-day closure of the Curley K-8 School in Jamaica Plain this week after nearly four dozen COVID cases were reported. An elementary school in Andover also saw a cluster of cases, according to the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune, which reported two dozen students at South Elementary had tested positive as of Nov. 8.
Overall case rates remain very low. Just .29 percent of all students were reported positive for the virus in the most recent report, an increase from .20 the previous week. About 920,000 students across the state are attending school in person, and about 140,000 staff members are working inside school buildings.
Boston had the most student cases in the period, 139, while Springfield had 90, Lowell had 48 and Lawrence had 45. Taunton also had 48, Winchendon had 42 and Wakefield had 40.
Weekly reports of coronavirus cases among staff and students this school year have consistently surpassed numbers reported last year as significantly more students are attending school in person, and more than twice as many schools have signed onto COVID-19 testing services provided by the state.
Just about 1,000 schools participated last year, compared to more than 2,200 that have signed up to participate this year. It’s not clear how many schools are actively participating in testing programs, but 2,110 have reported testing data so far.
The state on Friday also reported the results of COVID-19 testing in participating schools. For the period between Nov. 1 and Nov. 7, 1,542 schools conducted testing, with a pool positivity rate of 1.09 percent. The pool positivity rate was .82 percent the previous week.
Massachusetts school districts are required to report positive cases among students and employees to the state.
Children between the ages of 5 and 11 are now eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines, a development that school officials hope will help to contain the spread of the virus in the coming weeks, as holiday gatherings and increased time indoors boost the risk of a winter surge.
Experts have repeatedly emphasized that COVID-19 does not cause severe illness for most children. In the last two weeks, the state reported no COVID-19 deaths of individuals under 20 years old.
Jenna Russell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @jrussglobe.