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What to do if face masks and face coverings are being worn in your deaf child’s school or college

Published Date: 23 Feb 2021

We know that face masks and coverings are being worn in schools and colleges and that this is making communication very difficult for deaf children and young people.

There are now different rules in place across the UK on whether face coverings are required in schools. Whether it's a requirement or optional, it's still important that they do everything they can to make sure your deaf child is not disadvantaged. 

it's also important to remember: 

  • From the start, UK Governments have not recommended that face coverings be worn in primary school classrooms. 
  • Where there is a requirement or recommendation to wear a face covering, exemptions will still apply. Exemptions include where someone is communicating with someone who needs to lipread. Schools and colleges are expected to think about the needs of deaf children and young people.

If you are concerned about the impact on your child of face masks or coverings in education, you should ask for a meeting to discuss with the school/college and any Teacher of the Deaf how this will impact your child.

Education settings are legally required to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that your child is not disadvantaged. Our position paper sets out some of the reasonable adjustment that can be taken if face masks or coverings are being used in education. 

You have the option to make a complaint if face masks or coverings are being worn in classrooms by teachers and you feel that the school/college have not taken into account the needs of your child. We have produced a template letter that you can use for this, which you can download below.

We have also produced a template letter that you can send to your school/college if face masks or coverings are being worn in communal areas.

As there are lots of different scenarios in which face masks may be used in education settings, these should be seen as a starting point for you to edit and amend as appropriate to where you live and the situation at your school/college. Remember that you can contact our Helpline if you would like any help or support with this. 

Our coronavirus blog on education provides more information on government guidance around face masks and coverings in education for where you live, along with information on other possible education issues at this time.