Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update for Parents

Updated December 14, 2020

Latest Information from Michigan Medicine

COVID-19 Vaccine Info

Get the latest info about how we are preparing for the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Updated Visitor Guidelines

Find out about the most recent visitor guideline updates for our clinics and hospitals.

COVID-19 Patient Testing

Learn about COVID-19 testing for all patients with an upcoming surgery, procedure or admission.

COVID-19 Information and Updates for Our Patients

What is Novel Coronavirus COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a disease caused by a newly identified coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. It has been diagnosed in multiple locations worldwide and has received widespread attention from public health authorities and the news media. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, human coronaviruses are common throughout the world and usually cause mild to moderate illness in people. This new virus is a public health concern because:                                                                    
  • It is newly identified, so much is still unknown about it.
  • Two other human coronaviruses, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, have caused severe illness.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus. They include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Body aches
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Other less common symptoms have been reported, including gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Illness due to COVID-19 infection is generally mild, especially for children and young adults. People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to isolate at home during their illness. You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care.

Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening (e.g., difficulty breathing).

Before seeking care, call your healthcare provider and tell them that you have, or are being evaluated for, COVID-19.

I think my child has coronavirus or COVID-19, what do I do?

If your child is experiencing life-threatening symptoms, please call 911.

Stay at home and away from others if your child is sick. In many cases, COVID-19 can be managed without emergency care. However, if your child’s symptoms are severe and you are in an emergency situation, call 911 or go to your local emergency room.

COVID-19 Hotline:

The Michigan Medicine COVID-19 Hotline is available for established Michigan Medicine patients for questions about symptoms, home management, whether medical treatment is required and what specific steps you should follow to receive care or testing. The hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, only for patients and employees of Michigan Medicine. Call the hotline at 734-763-6336.

E-Visits and Video Visits:

Michigan Medicine providers are expanding access to E-Visits and Video Visits to allow existing patients to be evaluated for symptoms of COVID-19.

COVID-19 testing: 

If it is determined that your child should get tested for COVID-19, you may be directed to one of three curbside testing locations Michigan Medicine has set up. Please note that curbside testing is only available to patients with a referral from the Michigan Medicine hotline or a Michigan Medicine health provider.

Patient-Specific Guidelines for COVID-19

Many of our specialty clinics have developed COVID-19 guidelines for their patients with medical conditions. Visit our COVID-19 Patient-Specific Guidelines page to view these guidelines organized by category.

Should I be worried about the new multi-system inflammatory syndrome being reported in children and adolescents?

New reports suggest that a rare and potentially fatal inflammatory disease linked to the novel coronavirus is afflicting a small number of kids. Pediatric health experts are closely monitoring new data, emphasizing that while parents should learn about the new condition and know the symptoms – they also shouldn’t panic.     
Read more about the new syndrome here

What if my child does not have a primary care physician?

If you are not in an emergency situation, the best thing to do is to keep your child at home. In many cases, COVID-19 can be managed without emergency care. However, if your symptoms are severe and you are in an emergency situation, call 911 or go to your local emergency room.

How does COVID-19 spread?

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) says health experts are still learning about how this new coronavirus spreads. Other coronaviruses spread from an infected person to others through:                                                                                  
  • The air by coughing and sneezing
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes
  • In rare cases, contact with feces

What steps can I take to prevent the spread of COVID-19?

If you or your child is ill, stay home and rest. Here are other everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:                                                                                                            
  • Adults and children over the age of 2 should wear a cloth face cover or mask to cover your mouth and nose when you’re out in public.
  • Adults and children should wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. (Check out our video: "Wash Your Hands: Fight Germs with the University of Michigan Fight Song")
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Keep your child or other family members home if they are sick.
  • If you haven’t done so, it’s not too late to get a flu vaccine.
  • Watch the video: "Wash Your Hands: Fight Germs with the University of Michigan Fight Song"

Visit our COVID-19 Patient-Specific Guidelines page to view or download information for patients with specific conditions or who are being treated at certain Michigan Medicine clinics. This page will be update as we learn more about the disease.

Can children with asthma or severe lung disease wear a face mask?

In partnership with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Asthma Program, pulmonologists from Michigan Medicine address wearing a face mask for people with asthma or other severe lung disease in this handout.

Should my child(ren) with an underlying medical condition attend school in-person?

Mott pediatric providers, surgical specialists and educational specialists came together to provide information and guidelines to review when considering if a child with an underlying medical condition should attend school in-person. You can find the information in this handout

How is COVID-19 treated?

There are currently no tested therapies proven to prevent or treat COVID-19. Treatments are instead focused on supporting the patient and managing symptoms, helping the patient to breathe, and allowing the body to fight the infection and heal. University of Michigan faculty are closely monitoring a number of potential treatments in development around the world, including several therapies currently being investigated here at Michigan Medicine.
For more information, read Chloroquine, Ibuprofen and Beyond: Doctors Discuss Latest Treatments, and Treatment Rumors, For COVID-19 on the Michigan Medicine Health Lab blog.

What if my child has a specific medical condition?

We are providing additional guidance for patients with specific medical conditions or in certain categories. Visit our COVID-19 Patient-Specific Guidelines page on to view coronavirus prevention information developed for you.

Is my child at greater risk due to a medical condition?

According to the CDC and WHO, people at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19 include older adults over 60 and people who have serious chronic medical conditions like:                                                                                    
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Lung disease
  • Cancer
  • People with compromised immune systems

People with compromised immune systems include those:

  • With primary or acquired immunodeficiency
  • On anti-rejection therapy following organ or bone marrow transplant
  • On biologic therapeutic agents
  • With malignant cancers or receiving or who have recently received chemotherapy
  • Receiving systemic immunosuppressive therapy, including corticosteroids equivalent to 20 mg a day of prednisone for 2 weeks or longer

If you are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19, watch closely for symptoms and emergency warning signs. If you feel like you are developing symptoms, call your doctor immediately.

Get medical attention immediately if you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, including:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Blue-colored lips or face

This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

Visit our COVID-19 Patient-Specific Guidelines page to view or download information for patients with specific conditions or who are being treated at certain Michigan Medicine clinics. This page will be updated as we learn more about the disease.

I am a caregiver or guardian of a child with special health care needs. How can I get vaccinated?

Beginning Monday, March 8, the State of Michigan has also expanded COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to include caregiver family members and guardians (age 16 and over) of children with special health care needs. As defined by the State of Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, this can include physical, developmental, mental, sensory, behavioral, cognitive, or emotional impairment or limiting condition that requires medical management, health care intervention and/or use of specialized services or programs. The condition may be congenital, developmental, or acquired through disease, trauma, or environmental cause and may impose limitations in performing daily self-maintenance activities or substantial limitations in a major life activity.         

Parents and adult caregivers of children age 21 and younger who have special health care needs and receive care from C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital providers — including our off-site outpatient clinics — can request an invitation to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment with Michigan Medicine. For more information and to register, visit the COVID-19 Vaccine Request for Parents and Caregivers page.

Given the large increase in the number of people who are now eligible for vaccination, and the limited vaccine supply available to Michigan Medicine, we strongly encourage parents of children with special care needs to check with local health departments and retail pharmacies in your area about vaccination options., your local health department website, and the State of Michigan’s COVID-19 vaccine website are great resources to find vaccine providers in your area.

Should my child(ren) play organized sports during the pandemic? What happens if they test positive for COVID-19?

Key guidance on enrolling kids in sports during the pandemic and how to handle returning after a COVID-19 diagnosis are covered in this blog.

What should I do about scheduled appointments?

Michigan Medicine providers are expanding access to E-Visits and Video Visits to allow existing patients to continue receiving regular care during the COVID-19 pandemic.                       
Provider offices are contacting some patients to transition scheduled appointments to an E-Visit format, and some new appointment requests may also be scheduled as Video Visits.Contact your clinic with other questions about appointments, or visit our Virtual Care page to determine if an E-Visit or Video Visit could help you avoid the need to visit a clinic.                                                              

What can I do to help support Michigan Medicine's COVID-19 response?

By donating to our COVID-19 Philanthropic Fund or Michigan Medicine Employee Emergency Need Fund, making food or other in-kind donations, or participating in #FitfortheFrontLine national fitness challenge, you can help accelerate our efforts to positively impact the course of the pandemic in Michigan, the nation, and the world. Visit the Support Our COVID-19 Response page for more information about how to give.

Guidelines for At-Risk Pediatric Patients

Visit our Guidelines for At-Risk Patients page on and browse under "Guidelines by Category" for information created by U-M physicians for patients with certain types of medical conditions.

Helping Your Child Cope During the COVID-19 Pandemic

We understand that this is an especially stressful time for our patients and families. Below are some helpful resources for supporting our patients during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Thrive with your family web series

Michigan Medicine C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital provided a weekly video series called “Thrive With Your Family” that offered emotional support to families during the height of the global pandemic.  Through candid conversations, our nationally recognized panel addressed parents’ top questions related to helping children process change and cope with social isolation, supporting their children with chronic illnesses or special learning needs, and so much more.

While the future of COVID-19 is unknown, the coping skills and supportive resources offered in each episode remain a continued value to families.

View past Thrive With Your Family episodes.

Making masks fun: Tips for helping your child wear a face mask

Getting kids used to seeing and wearing face masks can be challenging, but the proper use of face coverings is an important step we can all take to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (Sars-CoV-2) that is causing the COVID-19 pandemic. Please note: The CDC has advised that children 2 years of age and younger should not wear a face mask.

In this video, experts from the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital Child & Family Life team share tips for helping children cooperate with wearing face masks.

Download printable coloring pages

Well-being resources

colorful puzzle pieces

6 Ways to Support Children with Autism During the Pandemic

graphic of father hugging a child

Strategies for Helping Your Child Cope

Graphic of kids of all ages by height

Supporting Children and Teens

Teenage male student on his laptop

8 Ways to Help Teens Cope with Social Distancing Blues

Water bottle, fruit, iphone, and barbell

4 Strategies for Staying Healthy in a Quarantined World

Graphic of book and and iphone

Stuck at Home? 6 Ways to Keep Your Kids Healthy and Happy

vidoe image of Dr. Radesky

Social Distancing With Kids

School Building

Coronavirus, Kids and School Closings

Mom and little girl

How to talk to your kids about COVID-19

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Video Resources

To view other videos in the playlist, click on the playlist icon in the upper right of the video screen.

COVID-19 Health Information, Research and News

Sign up for email updates: Visit the COVID-19 Email Updates page to sign up to receive regular email updates from Michigan Medicine with news and resources about the coronavirus.

Read the latest stories and research information from our Michigan Health and Michigan Health Lab blogs and News Room.