A Kentucky student who did not receive a chickenpox vaccine wants to return to school after the health department said he has to stay out due to the outbreak of cases.
     Cincinnati Enquirer

CINCINNATI – A Kentucky High School student has lost his lawsuit challenging an order that barred him from school because he refuses to obtain a chickenpox vaccine.

The Senior Assumption Academy in Boone County sued the Northern Kentucky Independent District Board of Health after it banned students without chickenpox immunity from attending school and extracurricular activities during an outbreak.

Jerome Kunkel, 18, was "devastated" by the ruling, said his lawyer, Christopher Wiest of Covington, Kentucky. 19659005] Jeff Mando of Covington, who represents the health department, said that he has been reporting the Enquirer earlier, but he is opposed to those who use aborted fetal cells in their production, including the chickenpox vaccine. The ruling "upheld the health department's mission to protect public health and the welfare of folks in Northern Kentucky."

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Wiest, he argued in court that the ban would not be effective in halting the spread of chickenpox, which was found in 32 students, about 13 percent of the student body.

"The chickenpox order makes no sense," Wiest said. "They all go to daily and weekly masses." The commune is receiving communion on the tongue. Communion-age kids are going to spread chickenpox. "That testimony was unequivocal."

Wiest said about 30 other students are out of school under the health department's ban, and they have joined Kunkel's legal cause. They attend Assumption or Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, a elementary school on the same property as Kunkel's school.

Tuesday's ruling upheld the health department's authority in Kentucky to implement the rules to prevent the spread of contagious diseases.

Mando said Early correspondence sent by the health department encouraged students without immunity to avoid interacting in the community to prevent the spread of the disease.

On Monday, during a hearing, Kunkel asked a judge to let him go back to school and lift a ban He says the health department is being imposed in a retaliation act against a chickenpox outbreak.

But the lawyer for the health department disputed Kunkel's claim.

"This is not a case of religious discrimination," Mando said. "Instead, it presents this question: Do unvaccinated students at Assumption have the right to attend school, play basketball and attend other extracurricular activities in the face of an outbreak of a very serious and infectious disease in the school?"

Bill and Karen Kunkel listen in during the chicken pox hearing for their son, Jerome Kunkel, 18, in Boone County Circuit Court on Monday, April 1, 2019. Jerome, a senior at the Assumption Academy in Walton, objected to the demand of public health officials for vaccination against chickenpox when 32 students at his small Catholic school came down with the illness this year. (Photo: Liz Dufour / The Enquirer)

During a nearly five-hour hearing, Boone County Circuit Judge James R. Schrand heard from medical experts about chickenpox and the vaccine, which came on the U.S. market in 1995. The issue before Schrand, however, was more narrowly focused on the authority that health officials can apply to citizens when trying to contain a disease.

The case arose after the ventricle apparently began sweeping through Assumption Academy and Our Lady of The Sacred Heart School in early February. The health department sent out a warning to parents.

Evidence at the Monday's hearing in the Circuit Court showed that only about 18 percent of the students in the school have been vaccinated against childhood illnesses such as violet. Kentucky's statewide vaccination rate for chickenpox is about 90 percent.

(Photo: Liz Dufour / The Enquirer)

In court, Mando pointed out that the state form that the Kunkels signed to get Jerome exempted from vaccines on religious grounds contains the warning, "This person may be "

In mid-February, the number of suspected cases of violets has jumped from six to 18. The Assumption Academy boys basketball team was preparing for statewide league playoffs. Local health officials, then consulting with state authorities, then banned extracurricular activities to prevent the spread of the disease from other parts of the state.

The ban was forbidden outside the school activities for 21 days after the last case of chickenpox. Kankel, the center for the basketball team, and his parents appealed to local and state health authorities that while Jerome had a religious exemption for vaccinations, he was healthy and not contagious.

Health officials said that due to the outbreak, there was No telling when Jerome Kunkel may get sick.

The health department issued a statement after the judgment that read, in part:

"The Court's ruling … underscores the critical need for Public Health Departments to preserve the safety of the whole community and, in particular, the safety of those members of our community who are most susceptible to the dire consequences, when a serious infectious disease such as varicella remains unabatented and uncontrolled. "


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