Coronavirus: Knoxville Center of the Deaf working with deaf community to overcome challenges during pandemic


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — In every state and local press conference, there is likely an interpreter standing near the podium signing in American Sign Language.

The interpreter’s role is critical during the COVID-19 pandemic, because it is sometimes the only way those in the deaf or hard of hearing community receive and understand important information. Especially in live events, closed captioning isn’t always guaranteed.

Knowing the importance of understanding is what motivates the staff at the Knoxville Center of the Deaf to continue their work in East Tennessee.

“It’s very important to the community to get the information, to get access to the information, just like your hearing public,” said Terry Osborne, CEO of KCD.

For 43 years, KCD has provided a variety of services for those in the deaf/hard of hearing community. Most recently, they have provided ASL interpreters for every Knox County Health Department COVID-19 briefing.

“We have interpreters that are showing up on-site to various doctors appointments. We have interpreters who are providing the service through video, remote, interpreting VRI, to keep people safe. Especially with hospitals,” said Osborne.

The Knoxville Center of the Deaf provides online resources. Interpreters are also available at (865)-579-0832.

Tennessee School of the Deaf Resources

There is a COVID-19 page with additional information on the Tennessee Schools for the Deaf website.

There are also ASL versions of some information, including the TSD Superintendents Letters and Teaching Our Students About COVID-19.

There are also links to state press conferences with Governor Bill Lee that includes an ASL interpreter on the same screen.

There are Online Learning Resources during COVID-19 that provides TSD students and parents with links for learning under the Academics tab.

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