GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Spectrum Health pediatric infectious disease expert on Friday reminded parents to be vigilant for signs of COVID-19 in their kids and to take precautions to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Dr. Rosemary Olivero took questions from reporters regarding COVID-19 in children and how the virus is impacting this upcoming school year.

Olivero started by saying that parents should monitor their children’s health like they would for other illnesses. If they show symptoms of a fever greater than 101 degrees, develop a severe cough or lose their taste and/or smell, they may have contracted COVID-19.

She encouraged parents to call the school if their child displays symptoms and to check with county guidelines when deciding to keep with home if they’re only displaying minor symptoms.

“Whatever county you’re living in, go to your county’s website and look at the workflow for a child who has symptoms that are potentially related to COVID-19 and it will walk you through the workflow depending on if that person is vaccinated or not and if they’ve had close contact to someone who may have had COVID-19 or not,” Olivero said.

She also addressed the importance of wearing masks. While she admitted it’s not a perfect mitigation, she stressed that it can help prevent the transmission of respiratory droplets that may contain the virus.

“It certainly is more effective if everyone in a group is wearing their mask so that nobody is expelling those infected particles into the air around them,” Olivero said.

She emphasized how important hygiene will be this upcoming year, encouraging frequent hand washing.

Of the other topics addressed in the press call, which can be viewed above, included athletics, booster shots and availability of vaccinations for children under 12 years old — which Olivero said could become available by December or January.