Driver’s Ed Returns After Being Left Unfinished Last Spring

Drivers Ed Returns After Being Left Unfinished Last Spring

Gracia Renkewitz, Contributing Writer

Students who started Driver’s Ed courses last spring at Huntington High School had their experience cut off and many were ultimately not able to get their license for the summer. Luckily, these students who could not finish the course have begun to continue the class from the comfort of their own homes. 

The big question is why? Well, due to the outbreak of COVID-19, a deadly virus, this past March  New York was put into a state lockdown and/or quarantine. Most places shut down, including schools, hence why the Drivers Ed students could not attend lecture classes or the driving lessons from the instructors. This puts these students at a loss since normally after Drivers Ed is taken, students schedule to take their road test as the next step in getting their license. 

Huntington High School (HHS) is now allowing students to continue the course in a new way. 

Huntington High School is now allowing students to continue the course in a new way.

Driver’s Ed student Mackenzie Madison explained, “This year they are allowing the students who were signed up in the spring to continue the classes online. It is every Tuesday and Thursday from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Google Meets. Mr Marinello is teaching it and this program started September 22nd and will be finished by October 22nd. We will take the final exam and then be able to earn our certificate! It’s not the same experience because for the driving portion we have to complete it with our parents. We have 14 hours to complete it and then we will be done! It’s definitely been very stressful because a lot of kids should have already received their full license such as I would have, and now it’s being delayed. But overall, we are all excited to finally complete this.” The senior is very excited to fulfill her Drivers Ed course, since it had been months of wondering what would happen with the course when school begins. 

All students from last spring’s Driver’s Ed course have now completed their requirements and earned the MV-85 certifications.

Normally, Mrs. P Quinn is the Drivers Ed lecture teacher for the class, but this year Mr. Marinello has generously taken over the lecture aspect of the class during the school year. Mr. Marinello teaches the Drivers Ed courses over the summer (not this summer obviously, due to COVID-19), “and was asked to take over the remaining classes by Ms. McCarthy,” he explained. When Mr. Marinello was asked to take over the course due to his experience with Huntington’s Google Classroom platform, which is the format of this year’s class.                   

Another Drivers’ Ed student, senior Miles Tierney expressed his positive outlook on the subject when he said, “I mean I don’t think it’s too bad, better than having to wait longer to get a license. Definitely just as informative as the classes we would have been taking.” Myles sees no disadvantage to the way this class is operating, as he’s still getting all the information he needs to be better educated as a new driver. As he said at least the class is in process so students will be able to get their certificates and retain the ability to get their driver’s license sooner, not having to worry about it any longer. 

 Huntington High School administrators have even found a way to coordinate the upcoming Drivers Education students who want to sign up this year. The rule is that any students who want to sign up have to be 16 by October 19 and have their driver’s permit accessible on the date of registration for the course. “The course will run from November 3 through December 22. Students will log on two days per week for 1 ½ hours each day. Students may only miss a total of three classes. However, all missed classes must be made up immediately with the classroom instructor. Once a student misses a fourth class, they may be dropped from the program and will not be eligible for a course completion certificate (MV-285),” the Huntington High School Facebook page posted. It is unknown who will be instructing this upcoming course, but the HHS administration is surely on top of figuring that out. Since the course this year only offers the lecture through the school and not the driving portion the, registration fee is $300.00 dollars less, calculating out to $200.00 for Huntington Highs School students; checks or cash are acceptable. However, the driving portion is not left out of the course- it’s just not accessible through the school. There will be no driving instructors making cars available for students to practice driving like in previous years, but 24 hours of driving is still required for the course along with the 24 hours of lecture that will be supplied by Huntington High School.  

In addition to the Late Fall course that began last week, Early Spring and Late Spring course have been scheduled for January and April of 2021, respectively. When Huntington goes back to full in-person instruction, Driver’s Ed Coordinator, Mrs. Georgia McCarthy said that the course will “go back to its original configuration.”

It’s good to see that people, in the atmosphere society lives in today, can adapt quickly and (most of the time) easily. Technology has played a big role in how Americans operate today. Huntington High School administrators should be informing the HHS community about who will be the future Drivers Ed instructor for the upcoming students in the soon future. With everything seemingly paused back in March, seeing Drivers Ed students get back to continuing the course is progress.