March 30, 2020

Dear Traffic Educators/Administrators:

We appreciate your dedication to traffic education and to the students and families in Montana. Here is the current guidance for teaching traffic education during the COVID-19 school closures.

  • The OPI is allowing school districts to provide traffic education classroom instruction through distance learning during the mandatory school closures because of COVID-19.
  • The required minimum 25 student contact days may be taught through e-learning by an approved traffic education teacher. Instruction practices should be carefully documented as districts will need to provide a narrative describing the accommodations made during this time.
  • Teachers will need to carefully assess and document students’ knowledge and skills.
  • Behind-the-wheel, in-vehicle instruction cannot be completed until schools are permitted to re-open. The OPI will extend completion dates for any school district that requests this adjustment.
  • CDTP testing must be done face to face and will need to be rescheduled when in-person instruction resumes. Only CDTP-certified instructors can administer the CDTP tests. Driver License Applications, usually brought to the mandatory Parent Meeting, can be submitted when in-person instruction resumes.
  • The vision test is another pre-driving requirement that can’t be done remotely.
  • There are resources available on the OPI website, including the Montana Teen Driver Curriculum, that teachers may find valuable for use in directing e-learning.
  • If a family has a need for a student to get their learner license, they may contact their local MVD driver’s license bureau to try to schedule an appointment to take the test (before the course is completed). Appointments are limited and there is no guarantee that they will be able to accommodate families at this time.

Starting New Classes

  • We are unsure how long school closure mandates will be in place so districts may determine if they would like to begin new classes, postpone, or cancel them. We will allow adjustments to district traffic education schedules in TEDRS as these decisions are made.
  • Parent Meetings may be conducted virtually. During the parent meeting, both the parent(s) and student need to be present for the session to count toward one of the 25 student contact days. Keep attendance records and encourage lots of questions to make sure everyone understands their GDL role. Any paperwork, such as the Driver License Application, can be collected once the school closure order has been lifted.
  • If a scheduled course needs to go past July 1 to complete, we will move student lists into the next school year (2021) and will decide at that time how traffic education reimbursements will be impacted.

If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact Patti Borneman or myself. Thank you for all you do and for being so flexible during these unprecedented times.

Stay healthy,

Tara Ferriter-Smith, Director
Traffic Education Program & MT DRIVE Workshops
Phone: 406-444-4396
Email: tferriter@mt.gov