SUMTER COUNTY, SC (CNN) -- A sick South Carolina third-grader won't miss a moment of class with her friends, thanks to her new robot. It's all part of a pilot program through Verizon to help homebound students.
Noone at Alice Drive Elementary would deny Hazel Grace Kolb and Lexie Kinder are best friends. Hazel says, "We used to dress all up and, put a crown on her hair, and wiggle a wand, and put on little play high heels and play around like little princesses."
Their desks, side by side, in the third grade classroom, but lately Lexie's desk has been empty. Hazel says, "It made me feel like she wasn't going to be in class anymore, like she wouldn't be there and everything."
That was until last week, when everything changed. That change is VGo. It's Verizon's 4-and-a-half foot remote tele-presence system, giving medically homebound students new opportunities. Shawn Hagerty, Sumter Dir. of Specialized Programs says, "It's not for every student but at the same time it can provide the school experience for students who cannot be involved with that."
It was Lexie's decision to personalize VGo, now dressed in bandages that once covered her pic line. Lexie's mom Cristi Kinder says, "Lexie's is precious, I mean it's just, it's her, when I look at her, it just reminds me of Lexie."
When it comes on, VGo's not the only one who lights up. Using the internet, Lexie can to drive to her desk. It can take Lexie anywhere.
For the first time she rolled down crowded hallways to lunch, but getting around desks, Lexie says, "I bump sometimes, but that's okay."
With a good friend close, anything seems possible. Scott Kinder, Lexie's dad, says, "In terms of interaction with others, in terms of friendship skills, in terms of feeling a sense of school culture, feeling the sense of remotely interacting academically, socially, it means the world to them."
It's meant the world to the Kinder's. Scott says, "She loves the school. She's been there since she was three, maybe two."
Her mom says, "We're just thankful that the school district has given us this opportunity and given Lexie the opportunity."
And to one third grader who's missed her classmate and friend.
Right now Lexie is just participating in math and reading. Sumter County Schools purchased three v-go robots under the pilot program.
Each VGo costs about $5,000, about the equivalent of homebound instruction for a student.