La Crosse area mothers urge school mask requirement


LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT)– After the CDC’s recommendation for K-12 indoor masking, two area moms who both have kids with special needs are urging the La Crosse School District to require masks this fall.

Jacquie Cutts’ oldest son Jacob Cutts is immunocompromised, while Chelsey Myhre Foster’s  daughter Adrianna Briggson is deaf and has a global developmental delay. Both mothers believe masked, in-person learning is best for their children.

“For our family it is very important that when (Adrianna) is attending school in person, because that is the best mode for her to be learning,” Mhyre Foster said. “It is very important that she is masked and that the children around her are.”

Sign language interpreters and clear masks have helped Adrianna throughout the pandemic, removing different barriers to her learning experience. Online school, without in-person helpers, posed a challenge during the pandemic.

“For her to keep up with that content and not have the support of the sign language interpreter in person and all of her special education services right there next to her, it’s just really challenging,” Mhyre Foster said.

Dr. Greg DeMuri, a UW Health pediatric disease specialist, echoed the importance of in-person school for kids as he recommended masks for those in K-12 schools.

“They learn better, they absorb more. Kids want to go to school, parents want their kids in school, teachers want to be in school as well,” Dr. DeMuri said.

To safely stay in school, Cutts and Myhre Foster both feel that it is in every family’s best interest to mask up at school.

“We have to do the right thing to protect each other. You know, my masks help protect me, but mostly they help protect people around me,” Cutts said. “If (Jacob) goes back to school, the only way that’s safe for him is if everybody around him is doing the best they can to make a safe environment.”

Cutts wants parents who are skeptical of the vaccine or masks to talk to specialists so they can make informed decisions for their families.

“Ask the right people. Ask the questions that you have. Get the information that you need so that we can get out of this—we can’t get out of the pandemic if we are not working together. That’s really not how that is going to work,” Cutts said.