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The last few days have been full of disruption, uncertainty, and preparations for disruption in school, work, and daily life under a global pandemic. No one goes untouched by the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). We here at the National Deaf Center extend our sympathies to you, your family members, and colleagues, especially those who have experienced hardship in recent weeks.

In these challenging times – with school closures, shifts to online learning, remote work, and reduced certainty about budgets and programming – deaf students and equity in access to opportunities are often overlooked or forgotten. It is our mission to provide you with timely, high quality, and relevant support to ensure that deaf people have what they need to achieve their education and employment goals. This effort is even more important when systems are changing and when infrastructure is in flux.

Our focus at the National Deaf Center is to support our stakeholders while also caring for the health and wellbeing of our staff and their families. We are grateful for the opportunity to be a part of your community, and to engage with you, together.

We have resources ready for you on a dedicated COVID-19 information page. We will be building out tailored information to support both short- and long-term decision making on important topics including accessibility, transition planning, self-advocacy, and mental health during this time of stress and change. Check back often for updates on a range of topics, and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram for daily insights on ways to mitigate the potential negative impact of the spread of the coronavirus.

NDC has an incredible team of professionals that can respond to your questions and offer models of successful approaches to the field. Our team can be reached at help@nationaldeafcenter.org or via our website. We respond to your questions as soon as possible, typically within two business days. Where possible, we will share relevant information not to individual requests, but also synthesized information for sharing on our website and across our communications channels.

A very important part of the work here at NDC is engaging with local, state, and national stakeholders. We are following guidance on how and when to engage in face-to-face technical assistance at this time. We have cancelled or postponed major events, conferences, and site visits until further notice. Where possible, we will focus on online delivery of support. We will communicate with participants and collaborators as we are able to make decisions and plan for contingencies that are both effective and responsible uses of our federal funding.

Information is key during times of change. You will see more frequent, targeted communications from NDC in the upcoming weeks and months. Please do share with your colleagues who may need this information. We encourage everyone to sign up for our newsletter and listserv and follow us on social media for real-time updates. The more we can share resources with each other, the better.

Most sincerely,

Stephanie W. Cawthon, Ph.D.
Director, National Deaf Center