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New challenges–and opportunities–for American Sign Language users in a pandemic

Lori Whynot has been acting as an American Sign Language interpreter for Governor Charlie Baker’s COVID-19 press conferences. Photo by Ruby Wallau/Northeastern University

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.”

Read more at News@Northeastern.

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