Welcome back, itinerants! Like me, I’m sure most of you have been working throughout the summer to prepare for a school year unlike any other! I have students learning in every possible format—remote, in-person, hybrid, fully outdoors… and the list goes on. Because this year is so different, my welcome back blog post is different as well. I’ve compiled a list of resources and answers to my own Frequently Asked Questions and I’m sharing it here. Who’s ready for a whole new adventure for Fall 2020!?
Itinerant Teacher of the Deaf FAQ for the New School Year
1. I’ve never even heard of that platform! How do I add captions?
There are many lists of closed and live captioning options. I’ve found these two to be the most comprehensive. As a bonus, they have both been compiled by professionals with hearing loss.
2. What masks should I recommend for my students?
There have been a variety of studies done over the summer (I participated in a few) and as with most research, there are mixed results. In the end, each student has unique learning needs and each school program has unique requirements for PPE. I’ve shared this list of resources with my schools and students to help them make informed decisions regarding masks.
In Support of Clear Masks:
- Perspectives from a Deaf Audiologist: How Masks, Face Coverings and Shields Affect My Speech Perception Ability
- More Speech Degradations and Considerations in the Search for Transparent Face Coverings During the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Communicating With a Face Mask: What Colleges Need to Know for Deaf Students (and Everyone)
Questioning the Efficacy of Clear Masks:
- Hearing Loss: Are Clear Masks Really the Answer?
- The Effects of Face Coverings and Remote Microphone Technology on Speech Perception in the Classroom
Informational Resources and Guides:
- Masks, School, and Hearing Loss
- An online resource for transparent face coverings created by Clarke alumni
List of Companies Providing Clear Masks (not exhaustive):
- Blue Clear Visibility Deaf Mask by BrandIt (available online)
- Badger Shield + by Midwest Prototyping (available online)
- Clear Mask by Mantis Graphics (in Easthampton, MA)
- True Hero Shields by True Hero (available online)
- Educational Face Shield System by Universal Plastics (available online)
- The ClearMask™ by ClearMask (available online)
- The Communicator™ Surgical Mask by Safe N’ Clear (available online)
- clear mask by DXL
3. Eek! How do I sterilize that?
I’ve used Phonak as a resource for sterilizing protocols. If you are not on their mailing list already, I’d recommend it as they frequently send out updated information with links and resources.
You can read their recommendations for sanitizing Roger products here.
And the CDC and EPA have shared this list of surface disinfectant wipes that are effective against the coronavirus:
4. Headsets are being recommended to improve sound quality, but which one should I get?
I consulted with a colleague who has hearing loss. She recommended the Logitech H390 USB Computer Headset, with enhanced digital audio and in-line controls.
The Arctis 5 headset, made by SteelSeries, is more pricey, but comes recommend by Stacy Crouse (Instagram: @stacycrouse.slp) who has been providing remote services, exclusively, for several years.
And OPTION technology professionals recommend the Willful M98 Bluetooth Wireless Headset.
While we are definitely going to encounter more challenges as the year progresses, hopefully we can embrace the unknowns and continue to learn together. Here’s to Fall 2020 and a completely unique school experience!
Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech does not endorse, recommend or provide advice for any products or vendors referenced above. Please contact the vendors directly for product information.