We feel that the time is right to provide you with another update on our stance as a company, regarding the return to work after the lockdown. Unfortunately, we don’t have anything concrete to announce, however, there have been a few developments, and we feel that it is only fair to keep you, our customers, updated on where you stand, and how we are currently thinking.
We, finally, received an update from the DVSA (Our governing body) last week, and they confirmed that ALL testing has now been suspended indefinitely, and it was reiterated that we should not be giving lessons until further notice. As it stands, theory testing is set to resume on 4th July, but, as we hoped it would restart on 1st June, there are no guarantees.
It now seems certain that the easing of lockdown restrictions, in phase 3, from 4th July, do not include driving instructors, do to the close proximity and enclosed space of our work environment. Northern Ireland have confirmed they see lessons as a phase 5 measure, which, if England follow that lead, puts us at August 10th. I personally think the date will lie somewhere between those 2 dates, but, as ever, that is all guess work at this stage. 1st August marks the end of shielding, so that date is another possibility.
I know that a lot of people are wondering when their driving lessons can restart. I want to reiterate that all of our instructors are keen to get back to work and as soon as we are given a green light that it is safe, we can’t wait to resume your lessons. We are aware that some people are viewing the DVSA advice in a slightly different way, but to us it is clear. As a responsible company, we want to assure you that safety of our clients, and our instructors, is our absolute top priority. We will not resume unless we can be certain that it is safe to do so and we will be led, on that, by DVSA and government advice.
As it stands, the government advice is that lessons can only be given to key workers preparing for already booked driving tests. We do have instructors working with candidates for these emergency tests, so, if you do see our instructors working, that will be what is happening. Similarly, if you, yourself, are a key worker preparing for an emergency test, then please do get in touch, we will be happy to help.
When a decision is made and a restart day can be confirmed, we promise you, that safety will be our top priority. We have a duty of care to our pupils and their families, so, with this in mind there will, likely, be some changes to the way lessons are conducted. Initial changes look set to include:
Face masks: your instructor may wear some sort of face covering whilst conducting lessons. It is uncertain, at this stage, if pupils will be required to do the same, but it may be wise to prepare for this. We have tried this ourselves and found problems with the steaming up of spectacles, so that is something that instructors may need to advise on, on an individual basis.
Sanitiser: we will not be using gloves, however, we will have a large supply of sanitiser gels and wipes and will be thoroughly cleaning down the car between lessons. We would ask that you wash your hands immediately before your lesson, and again, immediately after it.
Payment: where possible we will be trying to encourage payment by bank transfer, rather than cash. Block payments obviously make that easier, but where that’s not possible, even weekly lessons, ideally, would be paid in that way. We also aim to be fair in the application of lesson cancellation fees. We do not want to be in a situation where someone may have symptoms, but not want to say so in fear of being charged. We would also like to confirm that also outstanding block payments will, of course, be honoured. Also, any block payment/vouchers that have expiry dates will be extended for 4 months to allow for the situation we all find ourselves in.
Communication and Trust: we will continue to message the night before to remind of lessons, and probably sometime on the day of the lessons. If anyone has displayed ANY symptoms of Covid (persistent cough, high temperature, loss of smell or taste), or been in contact with anyone who has, we would ask you to cancel your lesson, without charge. The government test and trace is now up and running, so if we spend time in car with someone who tests positive, we will have to then self isolate for 14 days, as a precaution, so we ask that honesty is used, even if you don’t feel that bad. Also, at the start of a lesson, if you are displaying any symptoms, we may terminate the lesson, so as not to take that risk.
Ventilation: It is likely that advice will be to keep windows down a bit to allow ventilation and airflow through the car. Please bear this in mind when dressing for a lesson, especially if the weather is not nice. Longer lessons: some instructors are working to encourage 2 hour lessons to limit the amount of different people in the car each day. Each instructors diary, and their pupils personal situations, will obviously have a bearing on whether that is possible though.
Temperature Checks: Many of our instructors have purchased none contact thermometer and will be scanning your forehead as soon as you arrive at their car. In these circumstances, a temperature reading of more than 37.5 degrees Celsius will see your lesson immediately terminated on safety grounds. No charge will be made in these circumstances.
Please bear with us and rest assured that your safety is our priority. We want to get back to teaching you, but we can’t, and won’t do that, until we can be sure it’s as safe as possible for everyone involved. We are confident that restarting to early would jeopardise that stance, and we ask for your patience whilst we ensure that when we do restart we are all as safe as we possibly can be. In the meantime stay safe, and we will update you as soon as we can! Thankyou,
Weelz Driving School