Deaf Student at Univ. of Chicago Pleads To Rid Mask Mandate to Understand Professors

Deaf student at the U. of Chicago begs school to drop mask mandate so he can understand professors again.

  • The school has implemented a mandate that requires all students and professors wear masks at all times, including during class and instruction.
  • This requirement has made learning difficult for many students who rely on mouth reading to understand course material.
  • “I am an undergraduate at the University of Chicago, a school which I love,” deaf student Declan Hurley said. “But today, I am imploring the University of Chicago administration to lift or modify their mask mandate, which hurts deaf and hard of hearing people like me.”
  • Hurley, who is the vice president of the independent school newspaper, The Chicago Thinker, has a hearing disability and says the university has conflicting COVID requirements, Fox News reported.
  • “Administrators cite the omicron variant, but one report says omicron case fatality rate is one fortieth of that of the delta variant,” Hurley said. “The New York Times says that for a vaccinated 75-year-old, contracting the flu is riskier than getting omicron. And the university allows students to wear cloth masks, which former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb says are near functionless against COVID.”

“At the very least, I beg UChicago to allow me to hear in class by allowing teachers and students to take off their masks while speaking.”

  • This past fall, University of Chicago was allowing individuals in the classroom to remove masks while speaking, however they implemented the new rule this spring with very few exceptions.
  • According to their website, both unvaccinated and vaccinated students and faculty are required to wear a face covering at all times while in buildings, with the exception of eating and drinking, or in private offices alone with the door closed.
  • Instructions go on to say that “lowering masks while speaking in class is no longer permitted,” and that the university “strongly recommend masks that have two or more layers.”
  • Hurley claimed that the previous rules allowed him to more easily hear his classmates and instructors, and is begging the school return to its original stance.
  • “Anything less is cruel to the deaf and hard of hearing and sinks beneath UChicago’s legacy of free academic inquiry,” Hurley said.