EAU CLAIRE (WQOW) - A Memorial High School student is receiving praise and opposition after she refused to quarantine following a potential COVID-19 exposure.
"They're taking away my rights and my education," said Mikaila Spiess.
Mikaila is a freshman that is now the focus of the question, "What if I choose not to quarantine?"
"My school tried to quarantine me and I said no, that's not going to happen, it's not like I'm sick with anything," said Mikaila.
After a potential COVID-19 exposure, Mikaila and her peers were asked to quarantine, as doing so falls within the Eau Claire Area School District COVID guidelines, under the direction of the Eau Claire City-County Health Department.
Mikaila said she had COVID-19 back in 2019. Her mother, Kita Busse, contacted Memorial High School the night her daughter was notified of the quarantine order.
"I gave the Principal a call the day before and said, 'My daughter came with this to me and said she really wants to go to school tomorrow. She feels that she has a healthy immune system. She's not sick, she has no symptoms. She was at the doctor all day today, who gave her a clean bill of health, three days after exposure, and she wants to go back to school,'" said Busse.
Busse added that she trusts her daughter's decision.
“It's just my parenting style is that I want her to learn from experience and make independent choices," said Busse.
The following school day, Mikaila said she wore a hoodie to disguise herself, before entering her classroom.
"So I snuck past them and sat down in my chair. So they took all of my classmates and put them in a side room, and they kept doing that for every single class," said Mikaila.
Toward the end of the school day, Health Director Lieske Giese served a court order requiring Mikaila be removed from school and quarantined. The order also stated, if necessary, Mikaila be taken home by authorities. Instead, Busse arranged to pick up her daughter from school.
"I was informed that she came to pick me up and one of the vice principals, I think he was, came to pick me up from my Spanish class. On my way to the Principal's office, I saw four men in caramel, brown shirts with guns," said Mikaila.
Officials with the Eau Claire Police Department told News 18 that the men standing by were administrative staff, who, in accordance with all police departments, are armed with handguns.
ECPD said the four officers were called in to answer any questions from the health department, school district, or family, and stress there was no contact, either verbal or physical, and no detainment methods were necessary.
“It was intimidation and fear," said Busse. "It was not to answer questions and they were not talking to any of us.”
The court order, stating Mikaila would need to quarantine for 72 hours pending a hearing, has now been dismissed.
News 18 reached out to the health department for comment. While officials said they cannot speak to specific instances due to privacy rights, they did provide this statement:
"Quarantine is required by state law for anyone who is exposed to COVID-19 and is not fully vaccinated. If someone chooses not to self-quarantine and we are made aware of this, the Health Department issues an administrative order from the health officer regarding the quarantine requirement and State Statute and Administrative Code Rules about quarantine. Individuals who choose not to follow the administrative order may receive a court order to quarantine."
Mikaila is back in school now after testing negative for COVID-19.