GREENVILLE, PITT COUNTY - Seven students were transported to a hospital after three of them passed out inside a building in a Greenville school; police were concerned about a potential gas leak causing the situation, but no source of a leak has been found.
Police released information at about 9:15 a.m. confirming the incident at the Oakwood School. The potential leak evacuated all students from the upper school building to the main campus building.
Oakwood Junior Bethany Garrison said one of the students was "standing right beside me, passed out and then apparently another girl was shaking." She continued to say "he was conscious like 30 seconds later. He stood back up and was kind of like what just happened."
Students leaving campus told Newschannel 12 they were told to go home for the remainder of the day. Oakwood officials say the remaining students have since returned to class.
In a release to parents school officials say the students were in a Red Cross presentation detailing the steps of blood donation and collection. Officials told Newschannel 12 the presentation was graphic and there was testimonial about blood transfusion. They believe this may have had something to do with the incidents.
School officials say all of the students who were transported to the hospital have been released.
The school is located at 4000 MacGregor Downs Road in Greenville.
The full release from Oakwood Head of School Rob Peterson is as follows:
Dear Oakwood Parents and Friends,
Earlier today, the Upper School was evacuated after 3 students became ill while attending a morning meeting. The children were immediately transported to the Vidant Medical Center, along with 4 other students who experienced dizziness, to receive care for their symptoms. The staff and faculty immediately moved all students to the elementary campus. The school received immediate assistance from the Greenville Fire and Rescue, Greenville Police Department and Greenville Utilities Company to identify any potential concerns related to the building and mechanical systems.
There was no gas leak as earlier reported in the media. There are no gas connections to the school or the science lab in the Upper School and Greenville Utilities Company confirmed this while checking for additional issues that could have caused the incident. All precautions have been taken to ensure the safety of our facilities, including having all air and heating systems checked by our HVAC contractor, to test for Freon leaks and air quality related to the systems, and no problems were found. The school also worked with CA Lewis to complete further testing to confirm the safety of the Upper School facilities.
While attending the morning meeting, the 8th-12th grade classes were hearing a Red Cross presentation detailing the steps of blood donation and blood collection. The students who became ill received care at Vidant and have since been released. They were thoroughly checked for any anthropogenic causes that could have been related to the episode. So far there has been no test results that provide information related to environmental causes that might have precipitated the incident.
After extensive examination of the property by the staff, police, fire and rescue, and system contractors the Upper School building has been reopened and classes will resume at regular time tomorrow. Our focus is on the safety of our students and we have taken all the necessary steps needed to confirm that the building is safe for student occupancy.
Head of School