MCDHH is committed to our mission to work with individuals, service providers, businesses, organizations, and state agencies to improve the lives and opportunities of all Deaf and Hard of Hearing Missourians. We will continue to add to this webpage to keep you informed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 General Information

COVID-19 ASL Vlog with MO Dept. of Health and Senior Services

ASL Vlog about COVID-19 Social Security Scam

Missouri COVID-19 Information

ASL Vlogs from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on COVID-19

CDC COVID-19 Information

President Trump’s COVID-19 Guidelines for America, “15 Days To Slow The Spread”

Missouri Dept. of Mental Health – Office of Deaf Services

DPAN.TV Coronavirus Videos in ASL

Communication Service for the Deaf Coronavirus ASL Hotline and Resources

“Working with Deaf and Hard of Hearing Missourians in Emergencies Related to COVID-19” on Missouri 911 Service Board Resources Page

COVID-19 Information for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing from Chad Ruffin, MD

True+Way ASL Online Curriculum

 

MCDHH Event Cancellations Statement

As always, it is our priority at MCDHH to improve the lives and opportunities of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Missourians. One of the many ways we do this is by bringing the community together for exciting, empowering events. However, after careful consideration of information regarding the COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation, we believe it is the safest decision to cancel some of our events. The following events will be cancelled:

Six Flags Deaf & Hard of Hearing Awareness Day

ALL Deaf and Hard of Hearing Empowerment Symposiums

We will continue to monitor the facts surrounding COVID-19 and consider the health and safety of our other events accordingly. Meanwhile, we will keep working with various state agencies to ensure that the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community has access to information and resources to protect against COVID-19.

COVID-19 Guidelines Statement for Missouri SSP Program

Safety and wellness of Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing Missourians and the professionals and allies that serve them is a top priority for Missouri Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. This is especially important to us during this coronavirus outbreak. We know many of you depend on the Missouri SSP Program, so we plan to keep services up and running. In order to do so, all SSP Program appointments and participants should adhere to the guidelines listed below until further notice, starting immediately. These guidelines were developed to reflect recommendations set forth by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), President Trump’s “15 Days to Slow The Spread” plan, and the Missouri Office of Administration. We will send updates as new information becomes available.
 
SSP services can only be used for appointments that adhere to the following guidelines:
  • Avoid gatherings of 10 or more people.
  • Avoid eating at restaurants, bars, or food courts; instead, use drive-through, pickup, or delivery options.
  • Avoid discretionary travel, shopping trips, or social visits.
 
During SSP appointments, all participants should keep the following in mind in order to slow the spread of coronavirus:
  • If you feel sick, STAY HOME. Contact your medical provider for further instructions.
  • Keep hands clean by washing with soap and water and/or using hand sanitizer; please keep in mind sensitivities to fragrances when choosing these products.
  • Minimize touching your face.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes.
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects.
  • Do not visit nursing homes or retirement or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance.
  • Follow all instructions from state and local authorities.
 
SSPs showing symptoms of a respiratory illness shall NOT accept SSP appointments. Symptoms include a cough, shortness of breath, or a fever of at least 100.4 degrees. An SSP showing symptoms should not accept an SSP appointment until they have been symptom-free for at least 24 hours. An SSP with a pending or positive test for COVID-19 should not accept an SSP appointment until they are cleared by their medical provider to return to work.
 
DeafBlind program participants that have had a cough, shortness of breath, or fever within 24 hours of an SSP appointment must notify their SSP and Beyond Interpreting of their symptoms. They should also notify Beyond Interpreting and their SSP if they have a pending or positive test for COVID-19. MCDHH reserves the right to deny funding for an appointment that does not adhere to these guidelines. MCDHH authorizes Beyond Interpreting to cancel or deny SSP appointments or payments that do not adhere to these guidelines.
 
An SSP has the right to turn down an SSP appointment request if the DeafBlind participant has symptoms of a respiratory illness, has a pending or positive test for COVID-19, will increase likelihood of exposure to coronavirus, or any other circumstances that the SSP is not comfortable with.
 
If you have any questions related to these guidelines, or if you are not sure whether or not to go through with an SSP appointment, please don’t hesitate to contact Christina Godinez or Emily Morrison to discuss on a case-by-case basis. We will continue to be available to you through this health crisis.
 
Christina Godinez – Beyond Interpreting
beyondssps@gmail.com
(660) 491-0146
 
Emily Morrison – MCDHH
Emily.Morrison@mcdhh.mo.gov
(573) 526-0232

More COVID-19 Resources

Tips for accessible teleconferencing

Communication Card from University of Colorado-Denver’s Center for Inclusive Design and Engineering

From the National Deaf Center:

Disability service professionals are on the front lines — bringing their specialized knowledge, unique strengths, and necessary insights — to ensure that all classes are accessible to deaf and hard of hearing students as colleges and schools move them online in response to the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

These five tips from the National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes at the University of Texas at Austin can help them address access issues for deaf students who use assistive listening technology, American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters, speech-to-text services, captioned media, and more, as well as provide guidance to students, faculty members, and administration and leadership.

Tip 1: Communication is Key 

  • Make sure accessibility is addressed on all levels of your institution. Your input is essential during this transition to online classes.
  • Share these 10 Tips for Educators with all faculty members, adjunct instructors, and anybody teaching online at your institution.
  • Inform current students how they can update their accommodation plans with your office. What may have worked for deaf students in person may not work online.

Students who may not have had accommodations before may need them now. Research shows only half of deaf college students file documentation or request accommodations. Let all students know how to connect with your office for support if they experience any unexpected challenges.

Tip 2: Remain Flexible When Re-evaluating Accommodations

Consider the most common accommodations used by deaf students and how they can continue in online courses.

Tip 3: Don’t Cancel Service Providers

  • Consistent service providers are critical for deaf students. The classroom providers assigned to the face-to-face version of the course should continue providing services in the online course. Vocabulary and other signed concepts may already be established between the student and the interpreters, while speech-to-text professionals may already have a dictionary of specific terminology prepared.
  • Interpreters and speech-to-text professionals cannot be replaced by auto-generated captions for real-time communication needs. This does not provide equal access.    

Consider having on-call interpreters and speech-to-text providers available during business hours to provide services for office hours, tutoring, student group meetings, walk-in advising appointments, or other ad hoc needs. These services can be available remotely. Ask your service provider for ways to meet this need.

Tip 4: Prepare Protocols for Captioning Media

  • Establish a procedure and priority list for videos, pre-recorded lectures, and other media in need of captioning. The courts recently ruled that appropriately captioned media provides equal access to students as required by law. Be wary of relying on any program that uses auto-generated captions for videos.
  • Provide faculty guidelines on where to find existing captioned videos. This will help reduce the influx of requests needed. Ask if the library or other departments can assist with finding accessible instructional materials.

If you need to caption a video or pre-recorded lecture, consider using a combination of both in-house staff orcontact a captioning vendor. Staff can follow industry standards and use DIY captioning resources.

Tip 5: Manage Technology, Equipment, and Troubleshooting

  • Service providers may need to be granted access to your college’s learning management system (LMS), such as Canvas or Blackboard, or other videoconferencing and online resources. Work with your institution and service providers on how to access platforms.
  • If students or service providers need additional devices or access to software, plan on allocating resources to temporarily loan equipment. Ask students and providers what devices they may have available for accessing online coursework (computer/laptop, tablets, smartphones, etc).
  • As a backup, ask faculty to record virtual meetings and lectures, in case issues with internet connection, technology, or accommodations arise.
  • When online classes begin, check in with deaf students after the first week in case there are unanticipated barriers
  • Share these tips with your colleagues, administrators, and faculty. Let them know how you are planning to make your campus accessible, and how they can too. Now is the time to come together as a disability services community, support each other, and make sure everyone is involved in ensuring accessibility.