Miramichi woman starts kids’ virtual learning from mall food court

Miramichi woman starts kids’ virtual learning from mall food court

Miramichi — With the news of most schools moving toward online learning for, at the very least, the start of the new year, a Miramichi woman is getting creative.

“I simply cannot afford to, and do not have the luxury of working from home,” said Marge MacQuarrie, the 43-year-old single mother of two middle school-aged children. Marge, unfortunately is not alone — and these challenging times are being made even more challenging by the government assumption that all people have government jobs.

“The boys are just not smart enough to fend for themselves at home, and we just can’t afford to not be working, so we improvised,” Marge explained, gesturing to the food court where dozens of children and their parents were at laptops, many in Teams calls with their teachers or bosses.

Marge and her colleagues, who are in similar situations, came up with the idea of “Food Court Learning” over the holidays, shortly after the announcement was made to switch to online learning until the impact of Omicron on holiday gatherings can be fully assessed.

“The Wi-Fi next to McDonald’s is great! And there is an added benefit of lunch being close by, so it ain’t all bad,” she said when we met with her Sunday during her test run. “Even at peak capacity, the kids are able to tune in to their Teams classes and follow along just fine and can even leave their camera on!”

Marge and her colleagues went on to say they are just trying to make the best out of a less than ideal circumstances and will be happy when things get back to normal. Trying to make light of the situation, Marge also noted that being able to watch the kids from her post at the Lotto 649 booth actually gives her some peace of mind.

“The last time I left them home alone, they burned down the garage trying to cook beans on the exhaust of the truck…that puppy runs hot!”

Hopefully, for Marge and the rest of the province struggling during these challenging times, this will not last long.

Photo by Alpha on Flickr

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