Exeter Chiefs donate clear-panel face masks to Deaf Academy to help students communicate
PUBLISHED: 17:00 28 September 2020
The charity arm of Exeter Chiefs rugby team has stepped in to help students of Exmouth’s deaf academy communicate with those wearing face coverings.
Clear-panel face coverings have been provided by the Exeter Chiefs Foundation so that deaf students can read the lips of those wearing masks to protect against coronavirus spread.
The idea is the brainchild of Tim Phillips, whose son Oliver is deaf, and who realised that students would struggle to communicate with people wearing standard face coverings.
He said: “I contacted them as wearing clear panel face masks is key for Oliver to lip read and be able to understand what people are saying.
“I know they are very supportive of the community, so I thought, ‘why not give them a call? I was really pleased when they said they would be able to help.”
The face coverings donated by the Exeter Chiefs Foundation not only help to improve communication between deaf staff, students and the wider community, but they also play an essential role in raising awareness of the impact the coronavirus has had on the deaf community.
The Deaf Academy is urging more organisations to follow the example of the Exeter Chiefs Foundation and create and wear face coverings with clear panels or use clear visors to help those who lip-read.
Mark Stocks, assistant principal at the Deaf Academy, said: “The mandatory wearing of face coverings in many public places makes communication especially difficult for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
“We would encourage people to use clear panel masks or face coverings as much as possible, and also to be aware of the difficulties deaf people may face when communicating with people who are wearing a standard mask.”
“We are extremely grateful to the Exeter Chiefs Foundation for supplying us these branded face coverings, they are already very popular with our students and staff.”
Exeter Chiefs Foundation chairman Tony Rowe OBE said: ‘In the scheme of things, it was a small contribution for our charity to make, it is one that will make a huge difference to a lot of people.”
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