A Southern California community college evacuated part of its campus after a student told an instructor she and her family had been quarantined for possible exposure to Ebola — a story she made up so she would not be dropped for missing class, school officials say.
Students at Southwestern College in Chula Vista were evacuated Thursday morning after the student contacted her instructor to report why she had been absent. She told her professor she wasn't feeling well and her sister was hospitalized after a trip to the Midwest.
As a precaution, school officials shut down one building and sent a safety alert via text to all students and staff, according to Public Information Officer Lillian Leopold.
The student was isolated, and about 50 other students and two faculty members were kept inside the building as the San Diego County Department of Health and Human Services was notified.
Officials quickly brought in a school nurse to evaluate the student.
"Our campus nurse has thoroughly examined the student, and there is no expectation of Ebola," Leopold said.
After the student was found to have no infectious disease, she recanted her story and admitted no one in her family has been in the hospital. The Associated Press reported that she made up the story so she would not be dropped because of her absence.
"This is now a student conduct manner and will be treated in accordance with the district's policy and procedures," a release from Leopold stated.
The university was following protocols in place that include contacting county officials as well as Chula Vista Police and Chula Vista Fire.
“Help us communicate that Southwestern is OK,” Cash said.
Second year student Michael Hall told NBC 7 that he was in Room 472. He said the student was in Room 471 and then moved to a teacher’s office.
History professor Laura Ryan arrived to campus Thursday morning and was told not to go to her normal classroom, room 471. She said other faculty and union members told her it was being cordoned off by students and faculty.
Ryan said approximately eight of her students were held in a hallway.
Southwestern College posted this message via Facebook:
"A precaution has been taken regarding a student whose family member reported flu-like symptoms and was hospitalized. The Campus Police have cordoned off the 470 area. The County Department of Health has been called and is in transit to assess the situation."
Images posted to social media by students showed a large number of students still on campus but standing outside buildings.
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