By CBS3 Staff

BUCKS COUNTY, Pa. (CBS) — The Bucks County Health Department is recommending all county schools require masks for students. The department said the change comes after local hospitals asked for masking in the fall semester.

In a Tuesday release, the health department described their relationship with hospitals across the county in getting information on hospitalizations and the state of COVID in the county.

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However, recent information changed the county’s recommendations, according to the statement:

Even under normal circumstances, hospitals in Bucks County have limited ability to treat severe pediatric cases of any type. As our hospitals must refer all serious cases to pediatric specialty hospitals in the region, many of those same specialty pediatric hospitals are already operating at close to capacity because of non-COVID illnesses and staffing issues. While our COVID-19 cases among school-aged children remain very low, hospitals are growing concerned that any pediatric COVID-19 cases could stress the system.

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Because of this, hospitals in Bucks County have recommended that schools begin the fall semester with a mask requirement.  

The decision comes after the department issued school guidance on Sunday. All the other guidance will remain in place.

“This is particularly important for students who are unvaccinated, which includes all students under 12. We continue to urge, in the strongest possible sense, that everyone get vaccinated,” the health department said.

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Bucks County parents expressed frustration earlier this week over Gov. Tom Wolf’s push to help schools get more people vaccinated.