The eyes don’t have it: Masks upset classroom communication


FILE – In this Sept. 2, 2020 file photo, pre-school teacher Mikki Laugier wears a protective mask as she guides students in a lesson at P.S. 15, in the Red Hook neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough of New York. Placing an order while wearing a mask and standing six feet away from the deli counter can be difficult during the coronavirus pandemic. Try teaching a class full of students who are deaf, hard of hearing or whose first language is not English. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

Masks are as much a part of the new school year as books and pencils while classes resume during the coronavirus pandemic.

But the face coverings pose a problem for educators who teach students who are deaf, hard of hearing or are learning English.

Experts say the masks might muffle some sounds and students need to see the teacher’s mouth in order to learn how to form words.

Sight also plays a crucial role for deaf and hard of hearing students to read speech. E

xperts say teachers can speak louder and use videos to aid students. They’re also wearing clear masks, which some districts have provided.

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