Governor Laura Kelly today announced that the Kansas Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (KCDHH), in collaboration with the Kansas Department for Children and Families, is making visible personal protective equipment (PPE) available to deaf and hard of hearing individuals, their family members, and/or personal caretakers.
“Since the pandemic began, my administration has prioritized ensuring that all Kansans have access to the resources they need to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and stay healthy,” Governor Kelly said. “I commend the Department of Children and Families and the Kansas Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing for making this program available to those who need it, and I encourage all eligible Kansans to apply.”
This visible PPE program, made possible through funding provided by the federal CARES Act, offers each individual the option of obtaining face shields or clear/smile masks (either adult or child size). All visible PPE’s are made with see-through materials to allow for lip-reading and non-verbal facial expressions.
“This visible PPE program fulfills a need of deaf and hard of hearing Kansans,” DCF Secretary Laura Howard said. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, with masks being essential for all individuals, making visible PPE available, affordable and accessible to the deaf and hard of hearing community is imperative.”
“Deaf and hard of hearing individuals rely on full facial expression and especially lips movement to get the full meaning of other person’s expressed messages,” Robert Cooper, KCDHH executive director, said. “Visible PPE is crucial to ensure successful communication with deaf and hard of hearing individuals.”
Each individual may request two items, and each household is limited to four face shields and/or total 10 PPE items. Consideration is on a first-come, first serve basis, while supplies last.
This program is only available to Kansas residents.
Anyone interested in requesting Visible PPE should use the online request form found here: http://bit.ly/KansasVisiblePPE.
KCDHH will use the email address listed on the request form (or phone if you do not have email) to contact you if there are further questions about eligibility or delivery information. Expect about two to four weeks for processing and/or distribution. If you have trouble using the form or have questions, please contact Megan.Essary@ks.gov or 785-368-8034; or VP 785-246-5077.