PARENTS at the Tarro school where PFAS was discovered are keeping their children home from class, saying they cannot believe assurances there is minimal risk to students if they do not know the level of contamination.
Fire and Rescue NSW contacted Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School in Tarro in September about firefighting foam containing PFAS being used in past training activities on land the school acquired in 2014. It engaged Nation Partners to lead an investigation and produce a report with final assessment of sample results, which it is expected to publish next month.
A Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle spokesperson told the Herald soil samples were collected as part of the investigation from the area where training occurred - which is an already cordoned off construction site where demountables are being installed - before the school holidays.
Soil samples were also taken from other spots during the holidays.
"Preliminary results show limited opportunity for elevated exposure risk to PFAS in all areas," the spokesperson said.
Wells were also installed during the holidays and samples of groundwater were collected last week.
The spokesperson said the diocese had been advised water sampling may continue for at least six months.
Mother-of-two Kylie Domalewski said she and at least 20 other families had kept their children home from school this week.
She said many were planning to enrol them in other schools.
"They keep saying it's fine and that the risk is minimal, but they can't tell us why it's fine and minimal," Ms Domalewski said.
"They're still saying they're not sure about the levels and won't know until the end of November.
"There could also be six to eight months of testing to be done.
"I don't see why you'd risk the kids' health by leaving them there. If I had known I would not have sent them back after the holidays. They 100 per cent should have closed the school down."
She said she attended a drop-in session at the school on Thursday to hear from representatives from NSW EPA, FRNSW, Nation Partners, NSW Health and the diocese.
She labelled it a "waste of time".
"The only things they were telling us is what they had already told us," she said.
"When I asked the EPA representative what the exact readings were she said she couldn't remember, but it's of no risk to the children."
The diocese spokesperson said the school had told families it had been advised this risk could be managed by washing hands before eating.