The National Deaf Children's Society has responded to reports that face masks will be mandatory in secondary school classrooms when schools return on 8 March.
Head of policy Ian Noon said: “With England’s 35,000 deaf pupils close to a return to education, the goalposts on face masks have moved yet again. Public health must take priority, but bringing face masks into classrooms will have a devastating effect on deaf children’s studies, mental health and ability to take part in lessons.
“The Government cannot make an announcement and expect this to be enough. It must move quickly to show exactly how it will guarantee deaf children can still access their lessons.
“We cannot have a situation where thousands of deaf children and young people are unable to understand their teacher, leaving many with little point in even attending class.
“The future of their education is at stake and the clock has already started.”
The National Deaf Children’s Society says its mission is to create a world without barriers for deaf children and their families.
Five babies are born deaf in the UK every day, and there are more than 50,000 deaf children in the country.
The NDCS website is www.ndcs.org.uk
For further support, parents, deaf children and deaf young people can contact the charity's helpline on 0808 800 8880 (voice and text), on InterpreterNow (interpreternow.co.uk/ndcs), by email on email@example.com or through online chat at www.ndcs.org.uk/livechat