Over the course of the summer, many faculty have expressed concerns over how wearing a face mask or shield will affect their ability to be heard in the classroom and/or on a web conference like Zoom. Learning and Research Technologies (LRT) sought to obtain some real-world data so we enlisted the help of our AV integrator, Vistacom, to perform acoustical tests using a cloth mask, N95 mask, and one of the face shields the College will be providing.

Vistacom provided a full report (PDF), but the main finding is that:

…with only a slight behavioral change i.e. speaking slightly louder and with more articulation, the negative acoustical impact of the mask can be circumvented.

Additionally, LRT tested the audio quality on the cameras on stands that will deployed in the classrooms this fall. At a distance of 53 feet, a speaker wearing a cloth mask still could be heard by participants on a Zoom session.