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The 315 new cases among students and staff is the highest since the January Omicron surge.

The Madison Metropolitan School District had its fifth-highest weekly COVID-19 case count among students and staff the week of May 2.

According to the district’s case count tracker, updated on Tuesday afternoons or Wednesday mornings each week, there were 315 cases, which continued an upward trend since the return from spring break at the beginning of April.

The weeks of April 4 saw 101 cases, with April 11 at 149 and April 18 at 189. While it seemed to level off at 194 the week of April 25, May begins instead with a significant jump. The 315 cases are well above any other week in the 2021-22 school year outside of the four Omicron wave weeks in January.

Since Aug. 18, the district has had a total of 6,122 cases among its students and staff. There are more than 25,000 students and 5,000 staff members in MMSD.

The rise in case numbers comes as the district has twice extended its mask mandate over the past month, leaving it as one of two known Wisconsin school districts with a mandate in place. Last Friday, MMSD announced it would review its mask mandate on a bi-weekly basis moving forward.

“It is our hope, in the upcoming weeks, conditions will eventually support modifying our indoor mask requirement to ‘recommended’ as we move toward the summer semester and beyond,” superintendent Carlton Jenkins wrote to families.

Dane County as a whole has seen a similar rise in cases in recent weeks, with a weekly case rate of 435.1 per 100,000 people, according to the Public Health Madison & Dane County data dashboard. The rise has affected every age group, according to the dashboard, though none are near their Omicron peak.

The number of hospitalized patients with COVID has remained relatively steady since late March, though the number in the ICU has been slowly increasing, according to the dashboard.

Of the district’s 51 school sites, 17 have a 14-day case count in the double digits.

The highest 14-day case count is at Toki Middle School with 49. West and Memorial high schools are next, with 38 and 33, respectively, followed by Chavez Elementary School at 22. East High School, at 21, is the only other school with a 14-day case count above 20.

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