Important Customer Information (06/29/20)
BTW Lesson Alert. Due to the pandemic and the resulting backlog of behind-the-wheel lessons, coupled with reduced instructor levels, Safeway currently has no behind-the-wheel lesson openings in Jul and Aug. The two-month shutdown meant over 5,000 lesson were not given, compounding the seasonally overbooked summer months, and the risks associated with the pandemic has resulted in a one-third reduction in our instructor staffing. Consequently, please do not schedule a Road Test until Oct at the earliest.
BTW Priority List. Our priority for lessons will be students who have an upcoming Road Test, many of whom have already emailed us. Please do not schedule a Road Test until Oct at the earliest. We simply will not be able to schedule lessons for you; we currently have no openings.
If you do schedule a Road Test in Oct, Nov or beyond, please let us know by emailing the name and DOB of the student and the date, time and location of the Road Test to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will put you on the Priority List. Please be patient as we get in contact with you. We are contacting students with the closest Road Test first. We are, of course, waiving the recommendation of 30 days between lessons.
Customer Service Alert. Our phones and email Inbox are very busy and we are unable to provide the responsiveness we’d like. We’re very sorry. If you have a general question about scheduling behind-the-wheel or make-up lessons, you may find the answer below. The expanded descriptions are meant to address questions many of the emails and calls are about. Please read any relevant ones and contact us if you need additional information.
Limited Staff. Safeway is struggling like many businesses to retain our staff. Some are in the high-risk population, some have a medical exemption from returning at this time, and others have decided to retire. Accordingly, it will be months before we are staffed at pre-pandemic levels, let alone have additional staff to deal with our backlog. We are hiring and training, but that takes time, especially given social distancing requirements.
Behind-the Wheel COVID Safety Procedures. Safeway has new procedures for behind-the-wheel training:
- Safety precautions will require students and instructors to wear a mask at all times in the car.
- In order to protect our instructors and students, students who show any COVID-19 symptoms must cancel their behind-the-wheel lesson. There is no cancellation fee for a late cancellation due to illness.
- We are eliminating back-to-back lessons and are scheduling time between lessons to allow the instructor to disinfect high-touch surfaces in the vehicle between students.
- Pick-up and drop-off will be done at Safeway classrooms and at selected high schools rather than at a student’s home.
Summer Classroom Instruction. Safeway is conducting all summer classroom instruction in a distance learning format using a secure Zoom meeting. To register for summer classes, click the button at the top of our home page or view the calendars for a classroom near you or a school program. Please review the distance learning expectations and requirements at the top of the page and scroll down to the calendar of classes.
DVS has announced that all distance learning classes must end by Sep 4. We plan to resume in-person instruction in Sep. Please check back to this statement for updates.
Blue Cards. After a class is over, we mail the Blue Card to students that have completed all 10 lessons, have their Service Agreement returned, and are up to date on payments. The Blue Cards are generally mailed out by the Wednesday after class is over. Unfortunately, our office is not available for Blue Card pickup due to limited staff and COVID concerns.
Make-Up Students. The process for a making up a missed class is clunky and our best advice is to attend all ten lessons in your session. If you are a student looking to make-up missed lessons, you can do so through special distance learning sessions, not individual lessons. Importantly, you must complete your classroom session before we can move your registration to a make-up session.
Please click the button at the top of our home page for the make-up session calendar or click here. Review the expectations and requirements at the top of the Distance Learning Make-Up page and scroll down to the calendar of class sessions.
Make-up students should find the session in which they would like to attend one or more missed lessons. Again, registration is for a 10-lesson make-up session, not for individual lessons. Students receive Zoom login credentials the weekday before the session begins and they sign in and attend whichever lessons(s) they’ve missed on the date the missed lesson is given.
Please send an email request to email@example.com with the subject “Make-Up Session” and include the name and date of birth of the student along with the start date and time of the desired session. We will confirm your request with a return email.
Parent Classes. The State had not allowed distance learning Parent Classes. We expect to resume in-person Parent Classes when we resume in-person classroom instruction in the Fall.
Permit Tests. Permit Tests have resumed at a limited number of exam stations. Locally that includes Arden Hills, Anoka, Eagan, Plymouth and St. Paul.
Road Tests. Road Tests have resumed at a limited number of exam stations. Locally that includes Arden Hills, Anoka, Eagan and Plymouth. Road Tests are by appointment only. No walk-ins will be accepted. The State will post any updates on their web site: https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/dvs/Pages/default.aspx
Can I just take distance learning classes only and do my behind-the-wheel lessons elsewhere? No, we’ve decided against that. There is a big difference between the distance learning classes in Safeway’s Teen Package (both classroom and behind-the-wheel) and the classroom-only sessions elsewhere. Students who complete Safeway’s distance learning classroom instruction will receive a Blue Card, a State form issued by the driving school doing your behind-the-wheel lessons. Other online programs issue a completion letter. The Blue Card lets you take the Permit Test. The completion letter lets you to find a driving school who will agree to do your behind-the-wheel lessons and issue a Blue Card to you. That’s normally easy, but when driving lessons resume, driving schools will be overwhelmed by their own backlog of cancelled lessons and getting one of them to issue a Blue Card and do your driving lessons may not be as easy as before.
Besides, the State’s smaller out-state driving schools are struggling and they need the students in their communities to use them when classes resume. This just doesn’t seem like the right time for a large metro driving school with greater resources to decide to compete for their students. They need your support, too.
Will my Service Agreement expiration date be extended? Yes, expiration dates are automatically being extended for 90 days and will be extended for additional 90 days until we are more fully staffed for BTW lessons.