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COVID stomps on Gizinski's brakes

WED. | 04-06-22 | FEATURES

     Many teens are very anxious to turn 14-and-a-half because it means that they can register to take a driver’s education course (driver’s ed). Driver’s ed is the first step towards obtaining a driver's license, which gives a major sense of independence to most 16-year-olds. The course requires 30 hours of classroom training and six hours of behind-the-wheel training to receive a completion certificate. 

     As this month marks two years since Rose shut down due to COVID on March 13, 2020, Rose junior Zoe Gizinski reflects on her less-than-normal experience with driver’s ed when she was a freshman.

     In early March of 2020, Gizinski began driver’s ed.

     “[The first days] were really difficult, because the teacher was jamming in a lot of information which was really hard to understand, especially when a lot of people in the class didn’t take it seriously,” Gizinski said.

     On March 13, 2020, Gizinski was in Food and Nutrition I when everyone began to freak out as they found out school would be virtual due to the virus. Since Gizinski was in the middle of driver’s ed, she began to worry about how the class would continue.

Kemorah - Graphic.png

Graphic by Kemorah Ullah

     “After the two weeks was up, we were told we would be virtual for the rest of the year,” Gizinski said. “Then they canceled driver’s ed and it started stressing me out really bad.”

     After being informed that the class was canceled, Gizinski was not given any information about if and when the class would resume or if there were other options to continue elsewhere.

     “I started getting scared that I was going to be late getting my permit and license, which put a lot of stress on me,” Gizinski said.

     When months passed with no word from anyone, Gizinski and her family began to take steps of their own.

     “My mom called the school multiple times and they kept telling us the same thing: ‘We have no new information about [driver's ed]’,” Gizinski said.

     In July of 2020, Gizinski was finally called back to resume driver’s ed.

     “I had just turned 15 before I was called back, which was annoying because I could have already had my permit by the time I was called to continue,” Gizinski said.

     Due to COVID, the regular course requirements were cut in half. Therefore, students were only required 15 hours of classroom training and three hours of behind-the-wheel training to receive their completion certificate. This change put doubts of success in Gizinski’s head when she went to get her permit in January of 2021.

     “I was a little nervous to get my permit, since we only [learned] half of the information and I didn’t have a lot of driving time,” Gizinski said.

     Although Gizinski was doubtful and nervous, she passed her permit test that day.

     “I was so relieved to finally have my permit,” Gizinski said.

     Six months later, Gizinski was the proud holder of a limited provisional license.

     “They passed a rule that allowed the COVID kids to get their license six months after having their permit if they were 16 and still got 60 hours of supervised driving,” Gizinski said. “I was really thankful for that, because I thought I was going to be really late getting my license, but I got it perfectly on time.”

     While everything worked itself out in the end, Gizinski still regrets the experience she had.

     “I honestly wish I would’ve had a more normal experience, because it was really stressful on everybody and it was a lot of learning in little time,” Gizinski said.

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