When Lori Whynot is interpreting Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker’s COVID-19 press conferences, the information she’s relaying can be a matter of life and death. It’s crucial that the message be presented as clearly as possible.
And certain public health protocols enacted recently to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19—particularly the guidelines to wear masks in public—create a challenge for those using American Sign Language.
Wearing a mask while signing, says Whynot, who is the director of Northeastern University’s American Sign Language Program, “is like listening to a muffled message.”