Jerome Kunkel sued the local health department because of a policy temporarily barring students who aren’t immune against chickenpox from coming to classes and extracurricular activities at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart/Assumption Academy in Walton, Kentucky.
Kunkel contracted chickenpox last week and has recovered, his attorney Christopher Wiest told CNN by phone Wednesday. Kunkel went back to school on Wednesday.
“Jerome is in a catch-up mode,” Wiest said. “He feels like they kind of ruined his senior year.”
Kunkel has been out of school since mid-March, Wiest said.
Kunkel filed the lawsuit over the health department’s decision, especially because it affected his basketball season.
Only 18% of the school’s students are fully vaccinated, a school official told the local health department
A Kentucky judge rejected Kunkel’s request to prevent the health department from enforcing its school and activities ban in April.
Kunkel’s attorney said preventing the students from going to school fell short of containing the illness.
“Their ban didn’t stop these kids from going to church together,” Wiest said Wednesday. “Their ban is going to be ineffective from the start. The quickest way to get them back to school is to get it naturally.”
“Encouraging the spread of an acute infectious disease in a community demonstrates a callous disregard for the health and safety of friends, family, neighbors, and unsuspecting members of the general public,” the department said in a statement Wednesday. “A person who has contracted chickenpox can be infectious for up to 2 days before experiencing the rash that is associated with the virus.”
Barring students from attending school and after-school activities can help prevent the spread of the disease. They “are designed to prevent unvaccinated people who have been exposed to the virus from infecting members of the general public while they are infectious,” the statement said.
The health department also worried that the comments may be downplaying the severity of the dangers of the chickenpox virus, which is known as varicella.
The CDC recommends against people intentionally exposing children to chickenpox in hope that they get the disease.
When asked if Kunkel regretted not getting vaccinated, Wiest said, “These are people of deep and abiding faith, of strong religious beliefs. At no point in time do they regret not getting vaccinated.”
“They believe this is the right cause. They regret what the health department did.”
CNN’s Madison Park and Mimi Hsin Hsuan Sun contributed to this story.