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Guardian Letter On Masks In Classrooms

January 6, 2022

From today’s Guardian:

 

In light of the reintroduction of face coverings to secondary school classrooms this week, it is of course true to say teenagers are resilient, demonstrating endless adaptability. But spare a thought for deaf schoolchildren who can’t lip-read or understand facial expressions when face masks are being worn.

They have faced challenge upon challenge since the start of the pandemic, isolating during everyday life, facing cancelled exams and enduring online lessons without subtitles. Thousands of deaf secondary-aged pupils will be filled with a sense of dread about the reintroduction of face coverings in class as they return to school.

Public health should always be prioritised, but deaf children’s inclusion in society matters too. We cannot continue to see deaf children falling behind their classmates and their mental health suffering where a few simple adjustments and more sensitivity from the public would make all the difference.
Jo Campion
Deputy director of advocacy, National Deaf Children’s Society

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