The number of students with coronavirus in the area and statewide went up this past week while cases among staff members went down.
In the 10-community Sun Chronicle area, the number of cases among the 30,009 students increased by 346 in the week ending Jan. 12, jumping from 1,578 to 1,924. That’s an increase of nearly 22%.
While the percentage increase was big, the overall percentage of those with the virus in the 14 school districts tracked by The Sun Chronicle remained relatively small at 6.41%, a 1.15 point increase over the 5.26% recorded in the week ending Jan. 5.
Statewide, the number of students with the virus climbed from 38,887 in the week ending Jan. 5 to 41,063 in the week ending Jan. 12.
That’s an increase of 2,176 students, or 5.59%.
Overall the 41,063 students represent 4.5% of the 911,520 students statewide.
Meanwhile, the number of staff members with the virus in the Sun Chronicle area declined.
In the week ending Jan. 5 there were 362 stafers with the virus. In the week ending Jan. 12 that number declined to 243.
That’s a drop of 119, or nearly 33%.
The 243 represent just under 6% of the 4,065 staffers area-wide, which is a drop of 2.94 points from the 362 and 8.91% of the week ending Jan. 5.
In Attleboro, the number of staffers with the virus declined from 54 in the week ending Jan. 5 to 42 in the week ending Jan. 12.
That’s good news for the administration because there is still a shortage of substitute teachers, School Superintendent David Sawyer said.
Administrators were able to fill the gaps and keep the schools open, he said.
“Shutdowns have been unnecessary as we shuffle support staff to fill in gaps in coverage,” he said in an email. “It isn’t optimal, but closure would be much more disruptive.”
But the numbers before the pandemic and currently with regard to teacher absences are not much different, he said.
So it’s something administrators have been dealing with for a while.
“Surprisingly, the absence rate isn’t much different than historical levels,” Sawyer said.
Statewide the number of staff members with the virus declined from 12,213 to 7,351, which was a drop of 4,862, or nearly 40%.
The 12,213 represented just under 9% of all 136,349 staff members statewide.
The 7,351 represent 5.39% of the 136,349 which is a decline of 3.56 points.
In The Sun Chronicle area, King Philip Regional School District had the highest percentage of students with the virus at 16.48%, which translates to 309 of the district’s 1,874 students.
Norfolk Agricultural High School had the second greatest percentage at 12.41%, or 73 of its 588 students.
King Philip and Norfolk Agricultural drove the overall percentage and numbers higher because in the week ending Jan. 5 those two districts reported just 19 cases between them.
King Philip reported 19 and Norfolk Agricultural reported none.
Six of the districts reported reductions in cases including Foxboro, -39; Mansfield, -62; Norfolk, -17; Plainville, -11; Seekonk -42; and Wrentham, -8.
Attleboro had the most students with the virus at 354 of its total population of 5,866.
That number translates to a hair over 6%, which is up from 5.54%, or 29 students, recorded in the week ending Jan. 5.
Norfolk had the lowest number of cases and the lowest percentage of cases at 31 and 3% respectively.
That town has a student population of 1,031.
Norfolk Aggie had the highest percentage of staff members out, 16%, which translates to 13 teachers.
Seekonk had the lowest percentage of staff members out at 3.34% which translates to 10 teachers.