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The COVID-19 death of a Pulaski County School first grade teacher last week is at least the 61st among K-12 public school employees, according to the educator’s group Kentucky 120 United.
Stephanie Foster, 40, who taught at Burnside Elementary, died January 11, according to her obituary. Principal April Mounce confirmed she died of COVID.
“Stephanie Foster taught at Burnside Elementary for fifteen years and Shopville Elementary for two years,” Mounce told the Herald-Leader. “Ms. Foster was a valuable member of our school faculty. Ms. Foster was always smiling. She was a teacher who loved her students and thought of them as her own. Every year she would work to get to know her students and their families. She spent many hours planning lessons that would meet the needs of each and every student in her class. “
Mounce said Foster supported students throughout the school year and her former students always wanted to visit her.
“She was a leader within our school. She served as a grade level representative for many years, was an instructional technology trainer for our new teachers, served as a mentor for new teachers and student teachers.....and provided professional development to other teachers on various topics and programs. She was a wonderful mother, daughter, friend, teacher, and employee,” Mounce said.
Mounce said teachers aren’t required to reveal their vaccination status so she didn’t know whether Mounce had had a vaccination.
A Facebook message on the school’s page expressed “much sorrow and great sadness” over the death.
“As everyone can imagine this is a very difficult time for our students, staff, school and especially her family and friends. Burnside is more than a school, we are family!,” the message said. “Please keep her children, her family and friends, her students and our staff in your prayers for the many difficult days, weeks and months ahead. Our hearts are broken!”
Foster’s obituary from Southern Oaks Funeral Home said she was the mother of two sons.
Mounce said donations for her boys may be made at Forcht Bank in Somerset, KY to the account ‘Foster Boys’.
“She had a great rapport with the staff and the students and the parents in the community,” said Pulaski County Superintendent Patrick Richardson.