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School for deaf and blind overcome obstacles of remote learning

School for deaf and blind overcome obstacles of remote learning

By Hannah Tiede| August 18, 2020 at 11:40 AM MST – Updated August 18 at 11:40 AM

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) – Schools across Pima County are starting classes remotely, but what if your child cannot hear? Or see? Or both? This adds a whole new set of obstacles to an already challenging school year.

The Arizona State School for the Deaf and Blind in Tucson says it’s not letting anything get in the way of education.

“Unlike other schools in Tucson, we serve students across the state,” said Principal Kelly Creasy. “As far as Tuba City, Yuma, Page.”

On Monday, transportation employees drove across Arizona, delivering school supplies to 116 students.

“Every tote that we are sending out to students is really specifically catered to their needs,” said Creasy. “We have been looking at the Governor’s order, looking at the local health officials and just talking to everyone involved. A lot of our kids have underlying health conditions so that played a role in our decision making.”

Classes will remain online at least until October in accordance with the recommendations from Pima County health officials.

Teachers like Latrina Lewis are already feeling a void in their students’ absence. 

“Oh, tremendously!” Lewis signed. “I miss seeing them in person, yes.”

On Tuesday, August 18th, Lewis will log onto Zoom for the first day of class.

“I will be videotaping myself in sign language, letting them know the instructions, our schedule,” she signed.

Students with hearing impairments were sent a Chromebook.

“[And our blind students] use braille NoteTouches, which is a braille device almost like a laptop,” Creasy said.

The principal says students who are both deaf and blind face additional hurtles with remote learning.

“That’s where it gets a little trickier and that’s where we really count on working with parents,” Creasy said.

She adds it won’t be forever.

“Our goal is to have our students on campus,” said Creasy. “That’s really what we wanted right from the get-go. So, as soon as it’s safe to do so, that’s our plan.”