The spring semester for the Oyster Bay High School Driver’s Education Program has been suspended.
However, Kevin Trentowski, the program coordinator and the director of health, physical education and athletics at Oyster Bay High School, said that decisions are still being made on how to move forward.
“We are working with our vendor who supplies cars and driving instructors to come up with options to resume the current spring semester,” he said. “The goal is to have this semester wrapped up in time for students to be done by the start of the summer, but with uncertain timelines, things may change multiple times.”
Trentowski said a new plan should soon be posted online or communicated to students and their families soon.
“We hope to resume driver’s ed in May, as long as schools are open and it is safe to do so,” he said. “There will be a lot of changes to the schedule which have not been ironed out yet. There will definitely be more days per week that students will have to meet in order to get the required hours.”
However, he said that is subject to change in a time like this.
The state Department of Education released guidelines to districts statewide regarding Driving and Traffic Safety Education classes on March 25, stating how a school district moves forward with its driver’s ed. program is up to school officials.
The department said State Driving and Traffic Safety Education courses require that students receive 24 hours of classroom time and 24 hours of laboratory instruction, including six hours behind the wheel, six hours of observance in the vehicle and 12 hours of additional laboratory instruction. Upon completion, students receive an MV-285 Certificate of Completion of Drivers Education Course.
However, the department said it recognizes the challenges of completing laboratory time during a pandemic. Therefore, the Department of Motor Vehicles has agreed to allow for some flexibility as students complete their driver’s ed. programs.
Moving forward, schools can use online classes so that students can acquire 24 hours of class time. However, only students who have already completed 18 hours of their class time can go forward with the online classes.
Driving and Traffic Safety Education also mandates that students cannot participate in more than 90 minutes of class and lab time a day. Lab time can also not be completed online. Normally, the class and lab time would be done concurrently. Due to the circumstances, students enrolled in driver’s ed. for the Spring 2020 semester may complete their lab time over the summer or fall.