OVV converts to virtual learning

These are truly unprecedented times for our country, and this life-changing event is a hardship for many. Still, it is inspiring to see the ways we as a country have found to stay together, even when we must temporarily be apart. OVV temporarily closed its doors to our children on Friday, March 13, as mandated by Governor DeWine.

On Monday, faculty and staff met to discuss how we would continue to provide the much-needed services to our children, regardless of the situation.

By Tuesday, March 15, OVV opened virtual classrooms for the first time. Through hard work and ingenuity, our teachers and staff have already found ways to teach from a distance. We have even gone so far as to deliver iPads and secure free internet for families who needed it.

While we are looking forward to a return to normal, there is still a great deal of uncertainty. We are now operating under the assumption that the social distancing protocols will remain in effect through the summer. This situation is far from ideal, as the listening and spoken language services (LSL) we provide depend heavily on proximity and immersion. Our children cannot have a lapse in care as a day’s loss in LSL could have a lifetime’s worth of impact.

For the time being, our staff has adapted plans to provide education and therapy over video conferencing software. Once we are permitted to return to our building, we will extend our school year to give these children additional time with the in-person therapy they need. We will continue to provide audiology consultation to all families via email and text for any issues that can be handled remotely. Any emergencies that cannot be handled at a distance are still available at our clinic.

The future seems very uncertain right now, but two things are clear to me. First, all of us will make it through these challenging times together as a community. And second, our commitment to our children will never change. Ohio Valley Voices will continue never to turn away a family because of financial need, and Ohio Valley Voices will continue to provide the best outcomes possible for children who are deaf and hard of hearing. Our commitment to our children is unwavering. We hope your commitment to our mission remains the same. To stay updated on how we are progressing through these trying times, or to make a gift of support for the organization, please visit www.ohiovalleyvoices.org.

— Maria Sentelik, Executive Director

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