GDOE ‘relaxes’ uniform policy due to dengue

Students in the island's public schools can temporarily wear long sleeve shirts, jackets, and long pants until further notice.

The Guam Department of Education is “relaxing” its uniform policy to allow students to wear more protective clothes against dengue.

In a letter to parents, guardians, and GDOE staff members, GDOE Superintendent Jon Fernandez said students in the island’s public schools can temporarily wear long-sleeve shirts, jackets, and long pants until further notice.

“As we work through the recent dengue cases, school administrators have been asked to relax the uniform policy and to allow for long-sleeve shirts or jackets and long pants for the next few weeks,” the superintendent stated.

In the same letter, Fernandez encouraged GDOE faculty and staff to eliminate mosquito breeding sites, which are primarily artificial containers that hold water where mosquitoes lay eggs.

“Any items that hold stagnant water around homes and classrooms should be emptied to reduce mosquito breeding sites. Wearing light-colored, long-sleeved clothing and using mosquito repellent can reduce your chances of being bitten by mosquitoes,” the superintendent said.

Fernandez also advised GDOE faculty and staff to be on the lookout for dengue fever. Symptoms of dengue include fever, nausea/vomiting, rash, aches and pains such as headaches, muscle aches.

The Superintendent said the risk of developing severe dengue can be reduced by encouraging ill patients to drink lots of fluids (water, sports drinks, coconut, etc.) and avoiding the use of aspirin, Motrin, or ibuprofen.

Jenna Blas, public information officer of Guam Homeland Security/Office of Civil Defense, confirmed on the Andrea Pellacani show on NewsTalk K57 that if people contract dengue, they should avoid aspirin, ibuprofen, and Motrin because taking these medicines could make internal bleeding in dengue victims worse.

“Only take Tylenol or generic acetaminophen,” Blas said.

For more information on dengue, GDOE will be hosting an informational briefing for all interested parents and employees, including interested parents and employees from Harvest Christian Academy, tonight, Sept. 23, 2019, 6 p.m. at the GDOE Headquarters in Tiyan, Building B in the first-floor conference room.