Important Customer Notice: Behind the Wheel Scheduling and Covid Updates.

Important Customer Notice: Behind the Wheel Scheduling and Covid Updates

Behind the Wheel Scheduling Changes (Summer 2021)

Due to the impact of the pandemic, our Behind the Wheel scheduling is working a little differently than normal right now. Driving schools (like most industries) have experienced a shortage of employees this year due to the pandemic and we are working to catch up.

Please be prepared that your student might need to wait to take their lessons until just a month or two before their road test.

To ensure you can finish your lessons before your road test, please:

  1. Schedule your road test with at least 2 months notice.
  2. Notify us immediately when you schedule your road test (email us your test confirmation from the state), and we will put you on our priority scheduling list.

We know this is not ideal, but we assure you that if you notify us of your road test with at least two months notice, we will be able to complete your lessons before your test.

Pre-covid, our students could schedule all of their lessons online and spread them out across the 6-12 months before their road test. That system was ideal and we look forward to returning to that system as soon as possible. But for now we must ask everyone to be patient as we prioritize our lessons for students who have road tests coming up.

How to schedule your lessons:

1) If you do not have a road test scheduled, then you can try to get a lesson scheduled in our online system. Every Monday morning at 8am we are publishing some open slots for the next couple of weeks. They are available first-come first-served. This is a great way to schedule your 1st or 2nd lessons, but be patient because spots do fill up fast. We ask that you schedule no more than one lesson per month in our online system to make sure that other students can also schedule lessons.

To access the online scheduling tool: Send us your permit number when you get your permit and we will activate your account and email you the instructions.

If you can't find any open spots online don't worry - simply contact us when you have a road test scheduled and we will put you on the priority list.

2) Notify us immediately when you schedule your road test: Email us your test confirmation from the state right away. Make sure we have at least 2 months notice. We will put you on a priority list to schedule your lessons over phone/email before your test. We are contacting students with the earliest road tests first. Do not schedule a test with less than two months notice or we may not be able to complete all of your lessons in time for the test.

Why Do We Have to Wait for Lessons?

We understand it is inconvenient and frustrating to have to wait to schedule your lessons. Here’s why driving schools are in this situation:

  1. During the pandemic, many driving instructors chose to leave their positions. Driving with students in a vehicle is always a risky profession, but it is especially risky during a pandemic. We are happy to report that all of our instructors have now returned! But it will take a while to catch up from having limited staff this year.
  2. We are working on hiring and certifying new instructors as quickly as possible, but this is a challenging time to hire. And it often takes 4-6 weeks to get a new instructor licensed in the state of MN. It's great that MN instructors are well vetted and trained, but it doesn’t allow us to adapt quickly during this crisis.

Please Be Kind to Our Staff (And All Small Businesses) During this High Stress Time

We understand that this has been a very difficult year for everyone, and it might seem like the impacts of Covid should be behind us. But this pandemic hit our industry very hard and it will take a while to return to business as usual.

We are so grateful to many of you who have sent us messages of support and empathy as we work to schedule your students for lessons. Your kind words really lift our spirits! And we are very grateful to our staff members who have risked their lives to continue teaching because they care about your students. Please know that we take this work very seriously and we care about you and your students. We have lost countless hours of sleep trying to adjust to all of the changes in our industry during this crisis. We understand that not everyone will agree with our decisions. If you disagree with our approach, please contact us in a respectful manner and we will be happy to discuss your needs. This has been an exhausting time for small businesses and we ask you to give us your grace and understanding as we work to get through this together. We are pleased to share that despite the unexpected hurdles of the last year, we are on the road back toward “normal”, we just aren’t quite there yet.

Behind the Wheel Safety Protocols

We have adjusted the following business procedures to improve safety at this time:

  • We are scheduling 15 minutes between lessons to allow the instructor to sanitize surfaces in the vehicle between students.
  • Instructors will wear masks and sterile gloves during lessons.
  • We will drive with the windows open to create ventilation whenever weather permits.
  • Instructors will not teach if they have a fever, cough, any other potential Covid-19 symptoms, or any known exposure to someone with Covid-19 in the last 14 days.
  • We are asking students to pay a $5 Covid-19 surcharge at each lesson (cash or check) to help cover the extra costs of our cleaning time and protective gear.

Students must follow the following safety protocols during lessons:

  • Students must wear a mask at all times. (Student must bring their own.)
  • Students must cancel if they have a fever, cough, any other potential Covid-19 symptoms or any known exposure to someone with Covid-19 in the last 14 days. Their parent must take the student's temperature the morning of their lesson.
  • Be aware that you are taking a risk doing a Behind the Wheel lesson at this time even with these safety precautions in place. Elite Driving School is not responsible for any exposure to illness during a lesson. Thank you all for the kind words of encouragement and well wishes in this very difficult time.

Elite Driving School Classes will Remain in Distance Learning Through Summer 2021

The State of MN is temporarily allow driver’s ed schools to offer classes by teleconference. This means you can now attend our classes from the comfort of your home using Google Meet video calls.

The classes will be taught by our licensed instructors. Classes will be live and interactive so you can ask questions and talk with the instructors just like you would during in-person classes. Also just like normal, we'll keep the instruction interesting using a variety of learning tools. You’ll download all of the learning materials for free.

Our classroom schedule will work like it normally does. It's super flexible. There are 10 numbered classes (each 3 hours long) that you can start at any time and take in any order and at your own pace. Get done in as quickly as two weeks, or spread them out at your convenience. (If you don't finish all of your classes during the time the governor is allowing distance learning, then you'll need to complete your remaining classes at our in-person classrooms.)

How to Sign Up for Distance Learning:

If you are new to Elite Driving School, please click "Register Now" to sign up for our "Classroom & Behind the Wheel" or "Classroom Only" packages. Then while you are logged into your portal, you can choose the dates you plan to attend class (and you can log in anytime to change or add dates). Then we'll email you instructions to log in to the video calls and access the free learning materials. Make sure to try to log in for your first class at least 15 minutes early to allow time for trouble shooting if there are technical difficulties.

Please be aware that the opportunity to attend classes through distance learning is temporary. If you do not complete your classes this summer, you might need to attend in person in our Richfield or Minneapolis classroom locations this fall.