How COVID has impacted getting your permit

Jacqueline Rivers, Featured Writer

MINNEAPOLIS—COVID-19 created a lot of challenges, one of the many for young people included taking drivers education online and behind the wheel with masks on. 

In the fall of 2020 the Minnesota Department of Motor Vehicles started offering an at home permit testing option. Lots of people loved this new idea but some people were worried about the amount of cheating that could take place during at home testing. 

Georgia Rinkleff, a senior at Southwest High School who took driver’s education before COVID-19 hit. When asked about how she thinks taking drivers education online differs from in-person drivers education she said “Drivers ed in person was very long and tiring, but I think it would be harder to sit for that long alone.”

Rinkleff also said that she feels bad for the people that had to wait so long to take their permit and road test at the start of COVID-19.

In 2020 when COVID first struck, the wait to take the permit test was so backed up that people were waiting until November.  The wait list for the road test was even worse because they were completely stopped for months.

Rinkleff’s friend had to wait over six months for their road test.

Emily Springer had a different experience with driver’s education. Springer is a sophomore at Southwest High School. She thinks that taking drivers education in person would have been the same because they are teaching the same curriculum. 

As for behind the wheel, Springer took her first behind the wheel in the spring of 2021 even though she got her permit in October 2020. “I didn’t do a behind the wheel for months until I knew that it was slightly safer.”

Though COVID had calmed down she still had concerns about her safety and the safety of her family. 

“I didn’t feel fully safe… I waited a long time to take my first behind the wheel and wore a mask the entire time which made me feel a bit more comfortable, but it still didn’t feel like the safest thing to me which was a bit scary.”

Josie Wilike who is a sophomore at Southwest had some things to say on this topic as well. Wilkie, who had just taken driver’s education online, said it was very hard to focus and may be near impossible for someone who struggles to pay attention. 

“Hopefully it can go back to being in person soon” Wilkie said.

Drivers education online may not be the best solution for the long run. But for now it will have to do.