Students in Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools will have to wait to receive school-sponsored driving instruction after suspension of the program due to coronavirus concerns.
The program was restricted to online-only instruction before being fully canceled on Aug. 19. This is the second cancellation of driver’s education in CHCCS this year after a statewide cancellation in March.
Patrick Abele, assistant superintendent of the district, said he is working to reopen the program.
“Our first priority was to restart the classes that were stopped in March when the schools closed for in-person instruction,” Abele said. “We recognize the difficulty placed on families, staff and our vendor when classes were canceled but understand the seriousness of any operation taking place during this time.”
For students like Ryland Denson, a first-year student at Carrboro High School, being able to drive represents a kind of freedom.
“I think (driving) will definitely have a lot of benefits for me, especially when things start to open back up,” Denson said. “I have a lot of extracurriculars I’m doing through the school, and a lot of things that would require my parents to drive me places.”
In North Carolina, provisional driver's licenses are divided into three tiers:
- A learner's permit requires 30 hours of classroom instruction and six hours of behind-the-wheel instruction.
- The level two provisional license is achieved by driving 60 hours with parental supervision and passing a driver's test.
- A full provisional license is given after six months of driving accident-free on the level two license.
A bill passed by the North Carolina General Assembly in June allows students to receive their level two provisional license without an exam. This leaves the six-hour behind-the-wheel instruction needed to achieve the learner's permit the only portion of driver's education that requires exposure to a person outside a student’s household.