SAN DIEGO (AP) — Fears about the Ebola virus prompted officials to rope off a college classroom building for several hours Thursday in San Diego County after a student told her instructor that her sister was in a hospital with flu-like symptoms.
Southwestern College initially posted a statement on its Facebook page saying health officials were heading to the campus in Chula Vista, south of San Diego.
About an hour later, the school posted: “NO EBOLA ON SOUTHWESTERN COLLEGE CAMPUS” and said health officials were not on their way.
The student later acknowledged to officials that she had made up the story so she wouldn’t be dropped for missing class, college spokeswoman Lillian Leopold said.
Ebola was mentioned at one point in the classroom, prompting campus police to cordon off the building, Leopold said. About 50 students and two faculty members were kept inside the building.
Officials were still investigating who mentioned Ebola, and it was unclear if any disciplinary action would be taken.
Leopold said rumors had spread on social media that the family had been on the same flight as a Dallas nurse who tested positive for Ebola. The family recently returned from the Midwest but was not on that plane.