Parents Asked to Watch for Symptoms After Disinfectant Improperly Applied at Athens School

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(UPDATE – 4:40 p.m.) The Athens City-County Health Department tested East-West Elementary Tuesday afternoon and determined the level of Q.T. 3 was safe.

Superintendent Gibbs said the school district called the manufacturer upon discovering the error and took measures to dilute the disinfectant Monday night with cool and room temperature water and wipe it away with paper towels.

Only four students had verifiable reactions to the substance, according to Gibbs.

Q.T. 3 will no longer be used at Athens City Schools and the custodial team will be retrained on which chemicals need to be diluted.


ATHENS, Ohio — The parents of students at one Athens County school are being asked to watch for symptoms of exposure to a corrosive disinfectant that was improperly applied.

Athens City Schools District Superintendent Tom Gibbs says the custodial team at East-West Elementary used the product Q.T. 3 to disinfect the school after many students returning from winter break had the flu or flu-like symptoms. The product was not properly diluted, according to an email sent by Gibbs to parents Monday, and applied at full strength.

“As a result of this mistake, the disinfectant would be more concentrated and may not have evaporated from all surfaces prior to school starting [Monday] morning,” Gibbs wrote in the email.

A hazard statement from Hillyard, the company that manufactures Q.T. 3, indicates it can cause severe skin burns and serious eye damage if contact is made at full strength. Other minor symptoms of exposure include red or irritated skin, headache and nausea.

A bottle of the disinfectant Q.T. 3
A bottle of the disinfectant Q.T. 3 [Courtesy Athens City Schools District]
Gibbs encouraged all parents, whether there are symptoms of exposure or not, to:

  • Wash all clothing, backpacks and other material that may have made contact.
  • Take a shower and rinse any red or irritated areas for at least 15-20 minutes.
  • Thoroughly wash any water bottle used at school.
  • Observe for symptoms.
  • Do not hesitate to seek medical treatment, if needed.

“The members of our team are very concerned this error was made,” Gibbs wrote. ” Please accept our sincere apologies. We are in the process of wiping down all surfaces [Monday] night to assure no additional exposure is of concern for school [Tuesday].”

Anyone negatively impacted is asked to contact Superintendent Gibbs at to share description of any injury or illness and any treatment that was sought out.