Program allows seriously ill third-grader to attend school as robot

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by Eric Gonzales / KENS 5

kvue.com

Posted on March 6, 2013 at 10:55 PM

SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Miranda Garcia loves school. Her favorite subjects at Foster Elementary are art and science. Trouble is, the third-grader hasn't been able to attend school most of the year because of a grave illness.

Miranda has Lupus, which makes her immune system very fragile. Her mother says she tried to attend school for first and second grade, but got ill so often she spent most of her time at home. Since then, she's been home-schooled. 

This week, however, she’s back in class seeing all her friends-- as a robot she operates from home. 
 
‘”I am a robot, that’s the fun thing,” said Miranda. “It’s like I am in a whole different dimension.”
 
San Antonio Independent School district is one of 30 schools in the country to start the robot pilot program. Currently, there are only two schools in Texas that allow home-bound students to use robots. 
 
Miranda's device uses the internet to give her a real-time, in-class experience. 
 
One of the best thing about her new robot is that it lets her keep in touch with her best friend, Esther. 
 
“I actually do miss her, because she’s not here, but when she’s in a robot it makes me very happy for her,” said Esther Alvarado.
 
Miranda’s mom says she has seen a big change in Miranda since she has gotten her robot and been back to school. 
 
“She smiles more, she’s a lot happier,” Isabel Garcia said. 
 

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