Kentucky school apologizes to teacher who resigned in Ebola scare

Reuters News
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Posted: Nov 06, 2014 11:09 AM

By Steve Bittenbender

LOUISVILLE Ky. (Reuters) - A parochial school in Kentucky has apologized to a teacher who resigned due to an Ebola scare after she traveled to an area of Africa unaffected by the virus, according to a letter to parents made public on Wednesday.

Teacher and nurse Susan Sherman traveled on a medical mission trip to Kenya, triggering concerns from parents about Ebola, even though Kenya is thousands of miles from the West African countries affected.

Sherman's return on Oct. 26 came at a time of rising concerns over Ebola in the United States and just as some states began imposing mandatory quarantines on some travelers returning from countries affected by the virus, which has killed more than 4,000 people in West Africa.

Before Sherman returned from her fourth regular trip to do healthcare work in a town in Kenya, in eastern Africa, St. Margaret Mary school sent out a bulletin to parents saying that she would be taking a precautionary leave to make sure she did not have Ebola.

Sherman's daughter, Cathy Sherman, told Reuters that the school offered her mother a leave of absence that she was expected to use sick days to cover. Cathy Sherman said her mother challenged the decision and was later offered paid leave, but she ended up resigning on Oct. 31.

"The school acted in an unforgivably unprofessional manner. They made misguided decisions based on pressure from uninformed parents," Cathy Sherman told Reuters.

In this week's apology letter, dated Tuesday, the school acknowledged that it had announced Sherman would take a leave before discussing it with her.

"St. Margaret Mary is deeply apologetic for any pain that this situation has caused Mrs. Sherman and very much regrets Mrs. Sherman's decision to resign," the letter said.

(Reporting by Steve Bittenbender; Writing by Fiona Ortiz; Editing by Eric Beech)