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A teacher at St. Margaret Mary Catholic School who had recently returned from a mission trip to Kenya has resigned amidst swirling frustration and fears about Ebola.

Susan Sherman was not immediately available Monday to comment on her resignation.

Cecilia Hart Price, chief communications officer for the Archdiocese of Louisville, confirmed that Sherman resigned and that St. Margaret Mary's principal has already begun the process to try to fill the teaching position.

The school, on Shelbyville Road, had asked Sherman to take a paid "precautionary leave" of absence of 21 days upon her return from her trip after "strong parent concerns" about Ebola. It also asked Sherman, who is a registered nurse, to provide a doctor's note stating she was in good health.

There have been no reported cases of Ebola in Kenya. Indeed, the archdiocese, in a statement released last month regarding Sherman's trip, noted that the Kenyan village where Sherman was working — the remote village of Migori — is "in Eastern Africa, thousands of miles from West Africa, where the main outbreak of the virus is located."

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The recent medical mission trip to Kenya was the fourth trip that she and her husband, Paul, a retired orthopedic surgeon, had taken with faith-based organization Kenya Relief.

Last week, Paul Sherman sent a letter to Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, complaining that "unfounded fears" of some parents and parish staff "are triumphing over truth and reason." He said he and his wife offered to give an educational meeting about Ebola and about their medical mission trip, but they "were put off until our 'quarantine' is over."

He said all the other members of the team that went to Kenya have returned to their jobs with no problems.

Steve James, founder of Kenya Relief, said he's only had one other mission trip participant experience a negative reaction upon returning home.

"We don't have Ebola in Kenya," James said. He said it's unfortunate when people making decisions "haven't paid attention to the facts."

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James said he knows the Shermans, and said he's saddened that her life has been affected by Ebola fears. He said he hoped this would not deter others from wanting to help with relief efforts. "It's unfortunate that someone with such a big heart has to suffer because of it," he said.

Examples of heightened fears about Ebola have been seen across the United States.

Last month, a Dallas Certified Nursing Assistant claimed her employer sent her home because her daughter had visited from Kenya. A bridal shop in Akron, Ohio, closed temporarily after it learned that a nurse who was later diagnosed with Ebola had shopped there. In Jefferson County, there have been anecdotes about nervous teachers making half-serious Ebola jokes when a student from Africa enrolls at the school.

Ben Jackey, a spokesman for Jefferson County Public Schools, said the school district is "discussing prevention and response based on advice from the CDC and the local health department." He said if a concern came up, the district would work with the health department to address any issues.

Jackey said that prevention methods are "largely the same as those for any other virus," and said "the key will be educating our community."

Susan Sherman has worked as a teacher for the Archdiocese of Louisville for a number of years. According to archdiocese records, she worked as a teacher from 1998 to 2004, and then on and off as a teacher and a substitute teacher in subsequent years. She had joined the school teaching staff at St. Margaret Mary this school year.

Paul Sherman said Monday that he and his wife are already scheduled to go back to Kenya next year.

U of L nurses discuss Ebola preparedness. Each morning and before new shifts, the nurses participate in a group huddle to review new guidelines from the CDC.

Reporter Allison Ross can be reached at (502) 582-4241. Follow her on Twitter at @allisonSross.

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