With kids going back to school and flu season right around the corner, when do you keep them home from school or have them get a COVID-19 test?

With kids under 12 not yet allowed to get vaccinated, and having a son who is 8 years old, there is still a lot up in the air about when to keep him from school or when he should be tested for COVID-19 since the flu and coronavirus share the same symptoms.

Some schools have made masks mandatory while others have not so I'm sure I'm not the only parent wondering how to handle this school year when it comes to colds.

Hopefully this new school year gets back to normal for all the kids but this new variant has been getting more kids sick than the original strain where kids were almost not affected at all. We've seen in other states like Florida and Texas that the new variant is wreaking havoc on kids in those states and we sure don't want that happening this year.

First and foremost as parents we have the option of checking our local health departments website for guidance but there is still a lot of unknown out there.

According to FOX 17, Dr. Rosemary Olivero who is a pediatric infections disease expert for Spectrum Health said, "I think we all want to compare COVID-19 to influenza because we want to have something to hang our hat on and say this is what we can expect. Unfortunately, being an expert in the field, I still don't feel comfortable enough with COVID-19 to give a prediction for how it's going to behave season after season."

The obvious thing to do if your kid has symptoms is call the school and alert them first. Don't send the child to school or put on a school bus until you know your child has a negative COVID-19 test. If your child has a temperature of 101, keep them home until they have not had a fever for 24 hours. If they do get a positive COVID-19 test then it is 10 days at home before returning to school.

Kids are still going to get light colds as well. You know, the runny nose, cough and a fever. Just make sure you are monitoring their temperature and err on the side of keeping your child at home when it comes to fevers.

If a child develops a severe cough, cannot smell or taste, keep the child at home and get them tested for COVID-19.

Make sure and know your schools rules and protocols regarding masks and make sure your child understands to the best of their ability and hopefully all the kids in West Michigan have a safe and as normal as possible school year.

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