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(1) Pandemic Taking Unique Toll on Deaf College Students – A new poll reveals the COVID-19 pandemic is taking a unique toll on deaf students. According to a poll by the National Deaf Center, 74% percent of deaf college students consider online learning harder than traditional, 60% report being tired or anxious, and 73% are concerned about the increase in required reading and writing due to online learning. Many report being denied ASL interpreters, no access to online content such as podcasts and audio files, error-filled auto-captions, inaccessible emergency alerts, announcements, and needing expanded tutoring services. “Deaf students should be focusing their energy on learning, not using all of their energy to struggle for access [guaranteed by law],” said Stephanie W. Cawthon, Ph.D. “Online classrooms are not automatically accessible. There must be an effort to serve all students equally.” One graduate student said, “Deaf students should not have the burden of asking or reminding their professors/instructors to have things captioned. We should not have to feel like a burden.” (Article: http://bit.ly/Covid-19-D-College

(2) The Deaf Community Faces Another Communication Hurdle – Jessica Flores – Mary Beth Pagnella, who has lived with profound hearing loss most of her life, prides herself on being an excellent lip reader. But, amid the coronavirus outbreak, reading lips has become more difficult. “I feel so lost and out of place because (people) are wearing masks and I cannot read their lips,” Pagnella told USA TODAY. Wearing face masks has become the new normal. Watching televised press conferences can also be difficult, Cook said. Some have ASL interpreters, but many don’t – including the near-daily White House coronavirus briefings. “So we rely on each other,” said Cook. “It’s been crucial for us using things like social media…(for) keeping connected and…informed.” Many organizations are providing services like videos with an interpreter sharing updates on COVID-19. Both Cook and Pagnella are looking for creative ways to help their communities. One way is by making available masks [with clear windows] mouths and expressions may be seen. Article:bit.ly/DeafFaceMasks – Masks: talking-masks.com.

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