CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Recently, Governor Cuomo announced the DMV will allow distanced learning for young drivers so they can move forward with getting their driver’s license. While the information will be the same, it will look and feel much different.

The five-hour driving course is mandatory if you want to obtain your driver’s license in New York State. Since March, when the pandemic began, there have been zero. Now, Governor Cuomo announced that DMV licensed driving schools can now conduct distance learning pre-licensing courses and doing so virtually.

“We need them to understand that this is a very important component, not just a requirement,” Cindy Bernard, Administrative Assistant for Bells Auto Driving School, said. “It’s an opportunity for them to really gain some education and understanding of what it’s going to be like out there on the road.”

The course is to promote safe driving while understanding everyday activity you may see when you’re on the road.

Bernard says a lot of work went into this between regional control rooms and the governors office to understand just how important the course is and that the online course could enhance learning.

“You know, we can still get the curriculum out to our students, they still are participating in this, which is really important to have them interact and have discussions,” Bernard said. “Not just kind of sit there and you know, let the curriculum roll over them.”

It’ll be operated through online programs such as Zoom, with a limit of 36 students per-class. In order to take the virtual five hour, students must pre register and present their learners permit..

Instructors will teach in real-time and interact over do’s and don’ts, many will incorporate videos and screen sharing. They can even put a student full screen and try to catch them off guard if they’re not paying attention.

“I expect them to be attentive as they would in the classroom and I can see. So, I’m going to be looking, and just like I would in the classroom, if I see someone’s head-nodding, falling asleep, I can go to that person specifically, click on them and try to make them perk up,” Driving instructor, John Ferrucci, said. “Hopefully that doesn’t happen, but I think we will get through it OK.”