Staying Connected At A Distance

November 19, 2010

Staying Connected At A Distance

Rosemount Town Pages | November 19, 2010 | By Nathan Hansen

On Monday morning, Mary Kate Bigelow and her third-grade classmates were hard at work unscrambling words. But while Mary Kate could see the other students and hear the chatter of the classroom, she couldn’t turn and whisper with a friend. Couldn’t ask for help or share a joke.

Mary Kate was miles away from the rest of the students, sitting in front of a small white laptop computer in her Rosemount home.

For the next few months, a webcam and a microphone will be Mary Kate’s primary connection to her classmates at Red Pine Elementary School. Diagnosed at 6 months of age with spinal muscular atrophy, a condition that causes a wasting of her muscles, Mary Kate is particularly at risk to illness. That makes cold and flu season is a dangerous time for her to be around large groups of potentially sick kids. So, while friends deal with sniffles and sneezes this winter Mary Kate will stay at home. When the days turns warmer in the spring and the risk of illness fades, she’ll head back to school.