Settlement in case of Connecticut girl banned from school over Ebola fears

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Marcus Solis reports on the school controversy in Milford, Ct. (WABC)

A settlement has been reached in a federal lawsuit filed by a Connecticut man who said his daughter had been unfairly barred from school amid fears she may have been exposed to the Ebola virus while in Africa.

The Milford school district made the announcement Thursday night and said the girl would be back in school Friday.

According to the lawsuit filed Tuesday in New Haven, third-grader Ikeoluwa Opayemi and her family visited Nigeria from Oct. 2 through Oct. 13. They say when the girl tried to return to the Meadowside Elementary School in Milford, she was told she had to stay home until Nov. 3 because of a concern she might have been exposed to the virus.

In a joint statement, Milford school superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Feser and the girl's father, Stephen Opayemi, said an assessment record had been given to the school district documenting that the student's pediatrician has examined her and has certified that she is perfectly healthy and can take part in school activities, without restriction.

The statement also said she has had no contact with any Ebola patients, does not have Ebola, and does not present a health risk to anyone.

The family claimed there was no reason for Ikeoluwa to be kept at home, since Nigeria has been declared Ebola free since the summer. Also, she did not come in contact with anyone who was sick and is perfectly healthy.

"There is a problem in three out of the 52 countries in Africa," family attorney Gary Phelan said. "That doesn't mean that everyone who travels from an entire continent should be quarantined in the United States."

According to the lawsuit, officials issued the ban because of concerns raised by parents and teachers, and the district has sent a tutor to the girl's home for daily instruction. On Wednesday, the superintendent issued a statement firing back at the claim that their handling of the matter was improper, saying, "We deny this allegation. We acted in the best interest of all of our students and staff."
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