(WGGB/WSHM) -- In their weekly report, the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released the number of new coronavirus cases impacting schools in the state.
When it comes to western Massachusetts, one doctor believes the numbers are fairly low.
“Overall, they're pretty good,” said UMass microbiologist Dr. Erika Hamilton.
Hamilton responded to this week's number of COVID-19 cases reported in Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin county schools.
According to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, over the past week, there have been ten reports of new cases.
Five are involving students, one each in:
- East Longmeadow
- Smith Vocational in Northampton
- Pioneer Valley Regional in Northfield
- Pathfinder Regional in Palmer
DESE said says there were also five staff cases reported - one in Agawam and one in Ludlow.
Hamilton told Western Mass News that officials will likely pay closer attention to the three staff cases in West Springfield.
Town officials earlier this week confirmed cases at Fausey Elementary School.
"If you have one student in a school or one staff member, they probably infected outside of the school system and brought it in with them, but if you have a cluster of several people in a school, they probably passed it to each other,” Hamilton noted.
Gov. Charlie Baker added in a press conference Thursday, "The kids in schools are not spreaders of COVID."
During his Thursday briefing, Baker continued his administration's push to get students back in the classroom.
Hamilton said evidence is growing in western Massachusetts that schools do not appear to be super spreaders of the virus.
"If you have a child that is COVID-positive in a school system, and no one else has gotten COVID in that school system, it means that the precautions that the school is doing are working,” Hamilton explained.
Hamilton said those precautions include keeping children six feet apart, wearing masks, and using hand sanitizer.
She said this will likely be the norm for a while.
“You're going to run into people who have this in a school, but you want to see that it was contained that the precautions that the school is doing,” Hamilton said.
While the school numbers have not spiked, Hamilton said there's a chance for numbers to grow due to potential out-of-school gatherings over the fall and winter holidays.
You can CLICK HERE to see this week's state report on COVID-19 cases in school districts.