Driver’s Ed Schools Cope with Backlog of Students
After COVID-19 restrictions prompted a temporary closure for driver’s education schools, instructors have shifted to virtual learning and coped with a backlog of permit takers. At Easy Driving School in Plymouth, instructor Linda Seman expects a busy summer.
But right now the seats at Easy Driving School are empty. Most classes are virtual, even though the school offers some in-person instruction. Even during the pandemic, numbers stayed steady.
“Zoom classes have to have a live instructor. Students have to have their microphone and camera on,” explained Seman.
Seman says students are required to complete 30 hours of drivers’ education, but instructors are noticing that virtual classes can sometimes be an issue.
“I think there might be cheating going on. The Zoom instructor told me that somebody put a hat on a doll and was off watching TV,” said Seman.
Seman said online classes are great because there’s no need for parents to drop and pick up their kids, but there’s usually more engagement and questions with in-person learning.
Anticipating a Busy Summer
But at some point during drivers education classes, students have to get behind the wheel of a car. Students and instructors will don masks to meet the required hours for driving.
“To get their permit, they have to have a blue card which says they’re going to do behind the wheel. So they come in here to sign and get the blue card,” explained Seman.
Permit test takers have also been on a backlog. Seman said there’s 97 exam stations in Minnesota, but only 14 of them opened after COVID.
The school expects a busy summer. Instructors hope that whichever learning method students go with, they’ll take drivers ed seriously.
“The number one reason teen die is car accidents,” Seman said.