Minnesota driver's education classes get approval to go online during pandemic

Pete Hosmer of A+ Driving School prepares for a virtual driver's education class.

When Minnesota Governor Tim Walz issued the stay-at-home order, classes stopped but then eventually started again online. However, that didn’t happen for driver’s education. Those classes were on hold - until now.  

Tuesday marked day one for online driver’s education class for some students in Maple Grove, Wayzata and Rogers. Meeting by Zoom teleconferencing, about 70 kids tuned into learn how to drive with an instructor from A+ Driving School.

So far, it’s been a smooth ride from the road to online.

“We thought it was great,” said Pete Hosmer of A+ Driving School. “So we’re super excited to offer driver’s education to teens who are now stuck at home.”

Due to the governor’s stay-at-home order, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety just approved a variance allowing Minnesota driver education programs to provide instruction via teleconference or other methods of video distance learning. This was good news to a lot of students.

“We had a lot of heartbroken students,” said Hosmer. “They were like, ‘Man, I’m almost done. I’ve got half my days done. I want to get my permit. I want to start driving,’ and it just shut down. There was nothing I could do.”

Not all driving schools will be doing online classes, so you might still have to wait. Hosmer says he still thinks doing the teaching in-person is ideal, but during the COVID-19 crisis, this is a great option.

“In today’s society and the way we are with technology - this is the next best thing,” he said. “Is it the greatest thing? No. But is it the next best, yes.”

Once the COVID-19 crisis is over, the state is very clear that driver’s education return to in-person classes.