Robot gives Summers Co. girl classroom experience from home - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Robot gives Summers Co. girl classroom experience from home

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HINTON (WVVA) - A state-of-the-art robot is giving a Summers County girl battling leukemia the opportunity to attend class and interact with friends -- all from home.

Fourth-grader Ellie Rhodes is physically unable to attend classes at Hinton Area Elementary in person due to a recent bone marrow transplant, but she is able to see and hear all the classroom activities -- thanks to VGO robot technology.

The Summers County school system is the first in West Virginia to employ the technology, which consists of a robot that Rhodes is able to operate from home. She is able to move the robot freely throughout the school and interact with her classmates via cameras and monitors.

The purchase of the robot was made possible by a grant from the Hinton Area Foundation. The school board will pay monthly software costs.

Rhodes' teacher, Cathy Shank admits that having a robot in class has taken some getting used to.

"When we are going over a lesson, she raises her hand like the other kids do," Shank said. "We've done 2-3 things today. She did all of it and she will hold it up to the screen for me to look at."

Not only is the robot allowing Rhodes to continue her education, it also allows her to be with her friends.

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