OREGON CITY, Ore. (KOIN) — Students who stay home from school for health reasons spend a lot of time catching up on the work they missed.
But new technology used at Oregon City High School is bringing one student’s face and voice back into the classroom.
A robot called Double is helping Jaden Cloyes participate in classroom lectures as she recovers from a bone marrow transplant.
“Kids like me, we fight everyday to live and to be alive,” Cloyes told KOIN 6 News. “But if we don’t, if we’re not able to do things or go to school… what do we live for?”
School leaders didn’t want Cloyes to miss out on opportunities during her recovery, so they teamed up to get Double to double as her in the classroom. The device connects an iPad and segway, allowing Cloyes to be involved in school.
“Her school counselor called and said ‘can you help?'” CESD Director of Special Services Cyndi Panko said. “We have this really motivated student who has worked so hard and can’t come to the school.”
Cloyes navigates the device like a video game. Her counselor, Diane Shewbert, steps in to help when she comes upon stairs or doors as she cruises around school.
Shewbert says the technology, which cost the school district around $3,000, has allowed Cloyes to stay close with her classmates.
“They really miss Jaden because she’s such a positive, energetic person,” she said. “They’ve been able to keep those friendships together, because if you’re not at school you’re forgotten. And this way she’s not forgotten.”
In addition to attending classes, Jaden uses Double to go to assemblies and other school activities. She’s also able to have lunch with her friends everyday.
Panko says the “invaluable” technology is an effective way to allow students to reconnect with their friends. And Cloyes admits the social interaction is her favorite part about Double. Even when she’s spending long hours in the hospital, the robot keeps her right in the middle of all the action.
She says it’s given her hope for the future.
“Yeah, I was sick, but I was able to go to college, graduate, have a career and move on,” she said. “That’s giving me that opportunity which is amazing.”