Officials still don't know cause of Hickory school illnesses

Credit: AirStar

Officials still don't know cause of Hickory school illnesses


by Staff

Posted on October 29, 2013 at 4:24 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 12:48 PM

HICKORY, N.C. -- More than a dozen students were evacuated from a school building after an odor was noticed in the area on Tuesday.

Authorities say the call came in at about 11:30 Tuesday morning about an odor on the campus of the Hickory Career & Arts Magnet school.

NBC Charlotte learned 19 students and one teacher were evacuated from a building on the campus. The building is separate from the main campus, and is near the art and dance room-area.

Students in a dance class became sick, school officials say, with nausea, dizziness and shaking.

A total of 14 people were taken to area hospitals for treatment, school officials say. City officials stated all of the patients had non-life threatening injuries.

It's not yet clear what substance is in the air.

All remaining faculty, staff and students were moved to the cafeteria, while the Arts Wing of the school was closed off.

School maintenance, HAZMAT and city officials are investigating.

Wednesday morning, HCAM Public Information Officer, Beverly Snowden, released the following statement:

All is going well this morning at Hickory Career & Arts Magnet High School.

The students have returned to a normal day at school.

We met with three agencies in the dance studio early this morning-and we were there for a few hours as they checked the room again for any concerns.

On the HCAM premises (dance studio) this morning, joining HCAM principal Teresa Carroll, HPS Superintendent, Dr. Walter Hart, HPS Director of Facilities, Adam Huckabee and myself: Catawba County Emergency Services, IBS Environmental Services and OHSA/Department of Labor. While the results are not yet conclusive-there was nothing reported this morning that caused any concern. All appeared to be clear and clean. We remained in the dance studio the entire time.

We will not open the dance studio for the students until the report is finalized; and in the meantime, the dance students are using the gym for their classes. The gym is located in the same building-but at the far end; and the gym was also tested yesterday and today with no reports of any concern.

We hope to have the final report before the weekend. The HPS students will be out tomorrow afternoon (teacher/parent conferences) and they will be out on Friday as this day has already been scheduled as a teacher workday.

So while it remains a mystery as to what caused the health issues yesterday, it appears to be over and we are thankful to report that everyone is better & that today is a great day at HCAM.

HCAM School Principal Teresa Carroll released the following statement to NBC Charlotte Tuesday afternoon:

Today HCAM had a group of students in the dance studio that exhibited physical  symptoms of nausea and dizziness. Some students were released to parents and some were taken to the hospital  to be evaluated.

Emergency services tested all rooms And No toxins were found  however the immediate area will remain closed for further testing.

I will continue to keep you updated should there be any change.

We will have a regular school day tomorrow.