GSU's Lewis Hall quarantine remains in effect

STATESBORO, GA (WTOC) - Georgia Southern University's Lewis Hall, where the university's Office of Admissions is located, has been quarantined and shut down after an employee reported to officials they received and envelope containing a suspicious "white powdered" substance.

" Around 9am we were alerted to a package that had been received in Lewis Hall yesterday afternoon containing a suspicious white powder," explained GSU police chief Mike Russell. "We've done preliminary tests of the substance and it came back undetermined."

Lewis Hall will remain closed until the scene has been cleared by law enforcement, according to a GSU representative.

A large envelope was opened Tuesday by an employee in the admissions office inside Lewis Hall. The employee didn't alert university police until Wednesday morning, according to school officials.
More than 40 employees were in Lewis Hall at the time. They were kept inside and then brought out for decontamination process.

"We chose to respond to the worse case scenerio. We'd rather be too cautious than not cautious enough," Russell stated.
HAZMAT responded and tested the substance. Preliminary tests did not determine what the powder is, so a crew is coming from Atlanta to test it and take it to the Centers for Disease and Prevention in Atlanta.

University officials are urging people, including employees, to stay away from the area and try to use an alternate route when entering and exiting parking areas near Sweetheart Circle.

Georgia Southern's president, Dr. Brooks Keel, praised the university, city, county, state, and federal agencies for their cooperation.

Ironically, many of those agencies were supposed to meet Wednesday to discuss an upcoming tornado drill on the campus.

Students are currently on winter break, so only faculty and staff had to be evacuated. Classes resume on Jan. 18.

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