After a coronavirus-inspired wait, they get to hit the road

After waiting through COVID-19 closures, teens are getting a chance to earn learning permits and driver's licenses.

Wikimedia Commons

After waiting through COVID-19 closures, teens are getting a chance to earn learning permits and driver's licenses.

Olivia Macellaro, Staff Writer

Sophomore Olivia Penrod turned 16 on April 29, but because of COVID-19 closures, she was unable to participate in the teenage tradition of getting her learner’s permit on her birthday.

Penrod was one of several Baldwin students who had to wait to take that first important step toward getting a driver’s license. The state department of motor vehicles closed its offices due to the coronavirus, not reopening testing centers in Western Pennsylvania until the area moved into the “yellow phase” on May 15.

Penrod took her permit test on May 16. She said she was not too disappointed in the delay, because quarantine gave her more time to prepare. 

“I was able to read all 104 pages of the manual,” she said.

The motor vehicle testing centers are practicing social distancing and everyone who enters the is required to wear a mask. 

“I was social distancing and there was a glass panel in between me and everyone I talked to,” Penrod said. 

I was ready to take my test before the quarantine.”

— Beatrice Cook

The state testing centers are not doing road testing for driver’s licenses yet, but private driving schools in the area have been cleared to begin license testing.

Junior Beatrice Cook was eligible to take her license test starting April 28, but she had to wait until May 16. 

“I was ready to take my test before the quarantine,” Cook said.  

Cook took her test through Cindy Cohen School of Driving after taking lessons there.

“I highly recommend it for future drivers. Once I did the lessons I was ready for my test,” Cook said.

Sophomore Layla Miller also took her license test after waiting a month. She was eligible on May 12 for her license and got to take the test on May 21. 

Miller went through Cindy Cohen School of Driving as well. She said social distancing is being practiced at the driving schools as well. 

“I had to take my mask and wear it while we were in their car,” Miller said. “I had to take the test in their car, but they sanitize everything before you get in the car.” 

She was disappointed about having to wait the extra weeks to take her test, but it also gave her more time to practice for the test.

“It was easier to practice driving during quarantine because the roads were clear,” Miller said.