HOLLYWOOD (CBSMiami) – After a thorough cleaning of the classrooms, it was business as usual at McArthur High School in Hollywood where a dozen students and two teachers developed a mysterious rash on Wednesday.
Health officials still haven’t been able to determine what caused the swelling and itching on the students and teachers’ arms and legs.
It all began around 10 a.m. in a second floor classroom when students were moving from one class to another. As firefighters and paramedics converged on the school word of the outbreak spread quickly.
“It was like on Twitter and stuff,” said Abel Reyes, a junior, “That there was a rash going around and stuff and they had to evacuate some students.”
Hollywood Fire Rescue immediately quarantined the classroom from other students and evacuated the rest of the building. Students were escorted to the gym while the rest of the school was put on lockdown.
Some concerned parents who heard about the situation, went to the school to pick up their kids.
“I called the school and they told me the kids that were affected, they called the parents already and the rest of the kids are just on lockdown for now,” said Rhonda Lazcano. “My concern is that it could be in another classroom.”
Vivian Negron said she called her friend who was one of the affected students.
“He told me it started as a rash on his arm and then spread to his leg; it was red and blistering,” Negron said.
The students and teachers who developed rashes were taken to Memorial Regional Hospital where they went through a decontamination process. As their rashes cleared they were released and allowed to take their clothing home in plastic bags.
Students still remain hesitant about returning to the classroom.
“I’m hoping that everything is okay and they did everything in their power to make it better and safe,” said Sean Campbel, a concerned student.
“I don’t want to go in the 900 building… I have class there,” said Jahun Love, another student.
So what caused the outbreak?
“It was reading room and no chemicals were found,” said Hollywood Fire battalion chief Joel Medina, “We did a sweep of the room and there were no chemicals housed there. It’s an irritant, but we’re not sure what it was.”
One woman told CBS4 that her niece had been tested for hundreds of different substances, but nothing was identified that could have caused the outbreak.