From desks surrounded by plexiglass and required mask use, to students split between remote and classroom settings, educators say instructional audio systems are more important than ever to overcoming barriers to learning presented by COVID-19 measures.
Translating speech to learning is a complicated issue for children. Because their auditory brain does not fully develop until age 15, their brains aren’t able to fill in gaps to words they don’t hear clearly like adults can.
Recalling a recent experience in a grocery store, Dr. Carrie Spangler, Au.D., CCC-A, found herself unable communicate with a grocery clerk wearing a mask without a tool she’s relied on throughout her life: the ability to read speech and facial cues.
After emergency closures sent schools and families scrambling to cobble together distance learning schedules last spring, schools across the nation are reformulating for the coming school year – whether students return the classroom, continue learning from home, or a combination of the two.
Educators, school administrators and others providing services in schools face new challenges as schools plan for classrooms that can pivot between remote and in-person learning, as well as hybrid models to keep classroom populations low. Likely measures, including masks worn by both educators and students and physical distancing minimize the risks of COVID-19 transmission, but pose additional barriers to learning.