NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – School officials now say they have found the cause for Tuesday’s school evacuations in North Little Rock.
Seventh and eighth classrooms were evacuated after students and teachers reported feeling nauseous and dizzy due to a strong odor that morning. A letter Wednesday afternoon from Superintendent Gregory J. Pilewski said that a scented wall plug-in was found during an assessment of the affected rooms.
“The plug-in is believed to be the cause of the symptoms our students and staff identified,” he said. “The plug-in has now been removed and oxygen levels and air quality remain safe for students and staff to return to the building on Thursday, March 9, 2023.”
North Little Rock police, fire and hazmat teams responded as 1,200 students were evacuated for what the school officials said at the time were low oxygen levels in the rooms.
Students were evacuated to the Charging Wildcat Arena at the high school campus. Sixth-grade classrooms at the school were reportedly unaffected.
When asked Wednesday about initial reports of low oxygen levels, a spokesperson for the district said those claims were made “prior to a complete assessment.”
The spokesperson went on to say that it was determined there was adequate oxygen and no air quality issues
“The school district issued a statement yesterday prior to a complete assessment of the situation. However, after a thorough evaluation from the North Little Rock Fire Department Hazmat Team, the district learned there was adequate oxygen and the air quality was, in fact, good. We appreciate the quick response and assistance of the North Little Rock Fire Department.”NLRSD Spokesperson
When asked about the plug-in, the district spokesperson said they didn’t know what was in it or what the scent was.
Students will return to class on Thursday. Wednesday had been assigned for remote learning as officials worked to find the source of the odor.