Originally, Irby said, NCPS was on a timeline to have the robots in use by late spring, but those plans quickly were derailed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in schools across the commonwealth shuttering their doors.
The Milo robots are available to students in any grade level and have been in use by the division since September, Irby said. While she couldn’t say how many students currently are using them, she said nearly 20 students are eligible to use them.
Irby said the robots also may be used by students who don’t have autism but have significant communication barriers.
Milo also has lesson plans that can be incorporated both in person and virtually during a time when only a select number of NCPS students — based on their individualized education plan and parent input — are receiving in-person instruction. All other division students have been learning 100% virtually and will continue to do so for at least the remainder of the fall semester.
“It’s just highly dependent on the situation, so I’m glad we have the capacity to deliver Milo either way,” Irby said of students eligible to receive in-person instruction.
Irby said the rollout for Milo has been slow because of the pandemic, but students and teachers are responding well to the robots, although staff still are familiarizing themselves with the devices. She said she hopes broader implementation will come in the spring, which will provide more feedback on how students respond to Milo.