Student recants story that led to medical scare at Southwestern - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Student recants story that led to medical scare at Southwestern College

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CHULA VISTA (CNS) - A student's tale of her sister getting sick after their family took a trip to the Midwest prompted cautious school officials to shut down part of the Southwestern College campus Thursday, but the student later recanted her story.

The student's claim initially led to fears of potential Ebola exposure on campus, but school officials said a nurse examined her and didn't find any symptoms of the deadly virus.

The 470 building on campus was closed, but the rest of the campus remained open.

Some broadcast reports had suggested that the student's story had included her and her sister being on the same airplane as a nurse who contracted the Ebola virus.

Amber Vinson, a nurse who helped treat Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan at a hospital in Dallas, flew from Cleveland back to Texas earlier this week despite having a temperature of 99.5 degrees. She called the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before she boarded her flight.

The agency, which contended a temperature at 100.4 degrees or above is a sign of Ebola, is being criticized for allowing her to take to the skies with other passengers.

Thursday evening, Southwestern College officials released the following statement:

"A student came to class today and informed the instructor that she and her family members had been quarantined because of possible exposure to Ebola. The instructor notified the dean who notified campus health services. The areas in the vicinity of the 470 building of the Chula Vista campus were cordoned off by campus police as a precaution. During that time, those behind the cordoned off areas were provided food and water and had access to the restrooms.

A safety alert was sent via text to all students and staff at approximately 12:15 pm. Additional emails and phone communications were sent at the same time.

Southwestern College officials spoke with staff at county Public Health Services. College officials were informed that there has been no report from any hospital in the county that anyone is being investigated for, or is being quarantined for Ebola. County health officials said it was safe to release those behind the cordoned off areas. The cordoned off areas were reopened at 1 pm.

County health officials confirmed the college nurse followed protocols for potential infectious disease.

At approximately 1:45 pm the student recanted the story that she and her family had been exposed to the Ebola virus. The student confirmed no member of her family has been in the hospital.

This is now a student conduct matter and will be treated in accordance with the district's policy and procedures.

Staff worked quickly to assess and address the situation. The safety of our students, staff and college community are paramount".

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