As pediatric COVID cases rise, Archdiocese of Philadelphia students return to the classroom

Across the country, health officials reported that nearly 252,000 children tested positive for COVID-19 last week.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Students at Philadelphia's Catholic schools are returning to the classroom Wednesday as pediatric COVID-19 cases rise across Pennsylvania.

There is currently no vaccine mandate for schools within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, but church leaders strongly recommend getting the shot.

As with every school in Pennsylvania, masks will be required under the newly implemented statewide mask mandate.

Senior administrators of Catholic schools said they will review transmission rates every two weeks in each of the five counties where schools are located.

RELATED: Nearly 252,000 child COVID-19 cases reported last week, American Academy of Pediatrics says

Data from the Pennsylvania Department of Health shows 336 Philadelphia students tested positive for COVID-19 from August 26 to September 1.

Allegheny County has the second-highest case count with cases reported in 343 children. Montgomery County, Philadelphia's largest suburban county, had the third-highest total in the state with 234 students contracting the virus.

Across the country, health officials reported that nearly 252,000 children tested positive for COVID-19 last week, marking the single highest week on record for pediatric infections.

The Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association note that at this time, severe illness due to COVID-19 remains "uncommon" among children.

RELATED: Pennsylvania school mask mandate now in effect, but controversy continues

Right now, the mask mandate for all schools in Pennsylvania is set to be argued in court with Republicans taking on Governor Tom Wolf's administration.

"One of the things that we're concerned about is the misuse of current law to basically take away local control," said Republican Pa. Rep. Jason Gottesman.

The governor's spokesperson responded in a statement:

"The SOH's authority is clearly outlined in existing law. We need Republicans to stop spending time undermining public health and instead encourage people to get vaccinated."

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