Student drivers used to be seen all over the streets, such as this one in Durham. Now the streets almost seem like something is missing due to their absence. (Photo used with permission of Ildar Sagdejev)
When the coronavirus pandemic shut down the schools, it also shut down the driver’s education. Any students that had class sessions scheduled were put on hold, as well as any previously scheduled behind the wheel sessions. This sudden change left hundreds of students who had been looking forward to taking the next step towards driving left stuck at home due to a pandemic.
Due to this delay in permits and licenses, many high schoolers likely missed out on opportunities that would have been available to them if they could drive. They could have missed out on social and academic opportunities that they just might not have been able to get a ride to. Jayden Mancini, a sophomore said over text, “I may not always be able to show up if I have to depend on someone else dropping me off.”
Teens might also lose the chance of getting a job due to unreliable transportation. It is already hard enough to get a job as a teen and not having personal transportation takes away one of the most desirable attributes an employee could have. “i was actually kinda excited to get a job and now that i don’t have my permit it is making it a lot harder to find one,” said Jayden Mancini.
Fortunately, in May, Jordan Driving School reopened its classroom sessions. The classes operated almost the same as always, but instead of being taken in person, the students had to attend the course virtually. Students originally scheduled for the March-June classes finally got the chance to complete their classwork, putting them one step closer to the goal of obtaining their license.
Behind the wheel sessions also reopened on July 13. Currently, students from the February classes are being served, which means students who took the course in June could have to wait months to receive their driving instruction. Unfortunately, the only way to get around this wait is if someone is about to turn 18, so the school can be notified and that person will be moved up the list.
The pandemic has greatly affected all of our lives in ways people could have never imagined. Events and milestones many people had been looking forward to had been delayed or canceled entirely. Hopefully, with restrictions slowly going away, high school students will be able to finally receive the freedom of driving they’d been looking forward to for so long.