The government in England have recently announced a relaxation in the rules surrounding COVID and are asking the public to now follow guidance to keep infection rates low.
DVSA has reacted accordingly and announced the following main changes:
- you and your pupils are not legally required to wear face coverings during lessons, but government guidance suggests that you continue to do so in crowded and enclosed spaces where you may come into contact with other people you do not normally meet
- Masks will still be required for practical tests
- your pupils should take a rapid lateral flow test on the day of their driving test, before leaving home
- your candidates no longer have to wear a face covering for their theory test, but the government guidance suggests that you continue to do so in crowded and enclosed spaces where you may come into contact with other people you do not normally meet
Guidance on Driving Tests
DVSA are asking you and your pupil to continue to wear a face-covering when you come for driving tests, unless you or your pupil have a good reason not to, such as:
- having a physical or mental illness or impairment, or a disability that means you cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering
- putting on, wearing or removing a face covering would cause you severe distress
- If your pupil has a good reason not to wear a face covering, DVSA ask them, when they book their test, to tell us – if you have made the booking on behalf of your pupil you will need to do this if required.
Your pupil’s test may not take place without a face covering if they have not made DVSA aware when booking their test. The agency will be keeping this under review.
Taking rapid lateral flow tests
DVSA are asking your pupils to take a rapid lateral flow test before their driving test if they do not have COVID-19 symptoms. Pupils are asked that they do this on the day of their driving test before they leave home.
Car cleanliness and fresh air
You must clean the inside of your car before bringing your pupil for test.
- removing any rubbish or unnecessary items from the dashboard, footwells, door pockets, cup holders and seats
- cleaning and wiping down the dashboard and car controls
- making sure the passenger seat and footwell is not dirty
The examiner will do an additional clean of some surfaces, but your test will be cancelled if the inside of your car is dirty.
The car used for the test must have at least one window open on each side throughout the test. Any combination of windows can be opened. Your pupils should wear clothing suitable for the weather.
Guidance for theory tests
It is no longer a legal requirement for your pupils to wear a face-covering whilst attending and taking their theory test.
However, DVSA are asking candidates to wear face coverings during their theory test in line with government guidance on wearing a face-covering in indoor spaces where people might come into contact with others they do not usually meet.
If your pupils wear a face covering to their theory test, they will be asked to remove it temporarily for staff to do an ID check.
Other safety measures such as the screen at reception areas and workstation dividers will remain in place.
Driving test centre waiting rooms
In general, the risk of catching or passing on COVID-19 is higher:
- in crowded spaces, where there are more people who might be infectious
- in enclosed indoor spaces where there is limited fresh air
We continue to suggest you keep your distance, wear face coverings and practise good hand hygiene in waiting areas in England to help reduce the spread of the virus.
It is also important in general to wear face coverings:
- indoors, in any situation which is crowded, or where people are close together
- if asked to by any “competent authority”
- if someone else was uncomfortable, as a “common courtesy”
Why are these measures still important?
Given the close proximity and enclosed environment in which driver training takes place, NASP advises trainers to still take every sensible precaution regardless of any relaxation of wider rules surrounding COVID.
- Evidence suggests transmission is mostly happening in indoor spaces where people are in close proximity.
- Face coverings worn over the nose and mouth reduce the spread of coronavirus droplets from coughs, sneezes and speaking.
- The main purpose is to protect others from Covid, rather than yourself. If everyone wears face coverings, the risks drop for all.
- Masks can also help reduce virus spread from people who may be contagious but have no symptoms.
- Cutting virus transmission is important because many people are still not yet fully vaccinated.
- Some new virus variants appear more transmissible than earlier Covid strains.
NASP recommend that:
- You continue to wear a face covering to protect you and others on all lessons unless a valid exemption is provided, and ask your pupils to do the same
- You continue to sanitise the car as we have been doing during Covid and to continue to use hand sanitiser
- You take regular lateral flow tests and ask your clients to do the same before attending driving lessons and that you continue to follow guidance should you or your pupil test positive for COVID (see latest guidance here).
- We advise trainers to continue to regularly undertake refreshed risk assessments for themselves on individual basis, and similarly for each individual client.