Driver's ed programs continue in Springfield after two-month shutdown

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) -- Learning to drive a car is stressful enough. However, due to COVID-19 safety measures, it's created a new set of challenges for students and instructors.

Local driver's education programs are persevering and practicing new skills that may just become normal.

Much like a family car sitting in the garage, driver's education teachers in Springfield didn't have much to do during the pandemic. Programs were shut down for two months in response to the pandemic.

Recently, independent instructors saw their business spike. Roy Green, of Roy Green Driving school, said he and fellow instructors anticipated the rush.

"The phone went crazy with people who had been delayed in getting started. I think I had in the last couple of days maybe ten phone calls," explained Green.

Green operates his school independently. He said being a one-man-show, and the spike in business, has filled his schedule through mid-July.

However, for Midwest Training Center owner, Lisa Donaldson, it's a little different. Donaldson has several instructors who can share the load.

"We started trying to catch up on the drivers who already paid for lessons and needed to finish," explained Donaldson.

She said before they brought back drivers, instructors had to implement a few adjustments. Including temperature checks for students, sanitizing cars even more thoroughly, and requiring face masks.

Midwest Training Center driving instructor Mike Downing said he knows the changes are necessary, but they're also obstacles.

"When I'm wearing that face mask, it might create a problem for them to be able to hear me. What I'm asking them to do clearly, and for them to respond," said Downing.

Despite the new circumstance, Downing said the safety precautions are not roadblocks, but merely a detour that they're working through. He noticed students are just happy to be behind the wheel.

16-year-old student driver, Payton Donaldson, said he and his friends look at driving as a right of passage, so it's been a blast getting back behind the wheel again.

"It's fun to learn how to drive and become a safe driver, and there's a lot of precautions where we have to sanitize more," said Payton.

Both Donaldson and Green are happy to be back open, making sure drivers are safe on and off the roads.

"Safety, that's why we do drivers training because we want everyone to be safe so we're going to stay in line with that as far as health goes," explained Donaldson.

Midwest Training Center has open availability for driving lessons, call 417-234-1304.

Roy Green Driving School (voicemail says he is booked up right now) can be reached at 417-773-4197. However, Green's voicemail offered several options for instructors, too.

Other area driving schools:

Premier Driving Academy, is on Facebook or can be reached at 417-501-4464.

Springfield Driving School
can be reached at 573-619-0177.

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