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Safety Standards and Checklist: Driving and Flight Schools

Mandatory reopening safety standards, recommended best practices and a checklist for driving schools and flight schools. EFFECTIVE: March 1, 2021

These sector specific COVID-19 workplace safety standards for Driving and Flight Schools are issued to provide owners, operators, and workers of Driving and Flight Schools with instructions to help protect against the spread of COVID-19.

These standards are minimum requirements only and are not exclusive or exhaustive. The public health data for disease prevention that inform these guidelines can and does change frequently, and the operator of the driving / flight school is accountable for adhering to all local, state and federal requirements. The operator of the driving / flight school is also responsible for staying abreast of any updates to these requirements.

Violation of these standards may result in civil fines of up to $500 per violation; provided that each individual instance of non-compliance and each day of a continuing violation may be fined as a separate violation.  Each person present over any capacity limit specified below may likewise be fined as a separate violation.

Table of Contents

Key Documents for Reopening

Linked below are three important documents:

  1. Workplace Safety Standards - Complete and official sector-specific standards for reopening driving and flight schools (all workplaces must also comply with the Mandatory Safety Standards for Workplaces)
  2. Protocol Summary - User friendly summary of the standards and best practices
  3. Checklist - Printable tool to help businesses perform the required self-certification for opening and ensure compliance with the sector-specific standards 

Social Distancing and Capacity Limits

  • Instructors, students and staff must wear face coverings, except where unsafe due to medical condition or disability
  • Instructors and students should maintain distances of six feet in buildings, unless this creates a safety hazard due to the nature of the work or the configuration of the workspace.
  • Limit class sizes so that classroom occupancy does not exceed 50% of maximum room capacity
  • If any non-classroom work areas cannot be spaced out, physical partitions must separate workstations (partitions must be at least 6 feet in height)
  • Limit class sizes and reconfigure spaces to ensure 6 feet of social distancing, and encourage remote participation
  • Close or reconfigure any other common spaces and high density areas where workers are likely to congregate to allow 6 feet of physical distancing. Employers are encouraged to close break rooms or limit their use. Work stations should be redesigned to ensure physical distancing (e.g., separate tables, use distance markers to assure spacing)
  • Cafeterias must practice physical distancing and appropriate hygiene measures and may reopen for take-out food only; self-serve, unattended buffets, topping bars, drink stations and other communal serving areas must remain closed

Recommended best practices

  • To the extent possible, use online learning to replace in-person classroom instruction
  • Improve ventilation for enclosed spaces where possible (e.g., open doors and windows), including keeping windows open during in-vehicle instruction in automobiles
  • Establish directional hallways and passageways for foot traffic if possible, to minimize contact Post clearly visible signage regarding these policies
  • Limit visitors where feasible, and avoid congregation in common areas (e.g., lobbies)

Hygiene Protocols

  • Ensure access to handwashing facilities on site, including soap and running water, wherever possible and encourage frequent handwashing; alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol may be used as an alternative
  • Require regular and not less than daily cleaning and sanitation of all high-touch areas such as workstations, desks and chairs, door handles, and restrooms
  • Avoid sharing use of materials / equipment or disinfect equipment between use (e.g., telephones, computers, touch screens)
  • Post visible signage throughout the site to remind instructors and students of the hygiene and safety protocols
  • Supply workers and instructors with adequate cleaning products (e.g., sanitizer, disinfecting wipes)
  • No food is allowed in classrooms or the vehicle during test drives

Staffing and Operations

  • Establish and communicate a worksite specific COVID-19 Prevention Plan for all locations, including
    • Contact information for local health authorities, including the MA Department of Public Health, and your local Board of Health
    • Regularly evaluate all workspaces to ensure compliance with all Federal, State and Local Guidelines
    • Isolation, Contact Tracing, and Communication plan for if staff is diagnosed as positive with COVID-19, or comes into close contact (within 6 feet for 10 minutes or more) with an individual diagnosed with COVID-19
  • Driving lessons should be by appointment only and shall only allow for one student and one instructor in the car at a time
  • Provide training to employees on up-to-date safety information and precautions including hygiene and other measures aimed at reducing disease transmission, including:
    • Social distancing, hand-washing, proper use of face coverings
    • Self-screening at home, including temperature or symptom checks
    • Reinforce that staff shall not come to work if ill
    • When to seek medical attention if symptoms become severe
    • Which underlying health conditions may make individuals more susceptible to contracting and suffering from a severe case of the virus
  • Encourage the use of electronic payment
  • Sharing of materials such as books, notebooks, pads, pens and pencils, headsets, view-limiting devices, or kneeboards is not allowed. Require students and instructors to use their own items
  • Encourage windows to be open when operating automobiles, weather permitting
  • Workers shall not appear for work or complete a shift if feeling ill
  • Workers who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 according to the Centers for Disease Control should be encouraged to stay home or managers should arrange an alternate work assignment that reduces in-person interaction with other workers and students
  • Encourage workers who test positive for COVID-19 to disclose to the employer for purposes of cleaning / disinfecting and contact tracing. If the employer is notified of any positive case at the workplace, the employer must immediately notify the local Board of Health (LBOH) in the city or town where the workplace is located. Employers must work with the LBOH  with contact tracing efforts, including advising likely contacts and workers to isolate and self-quarantine. Testing of other workers may be recommended consistent with guidance and / or at the request of the LBOH
  • Post notice to workers and customers of important health information and relevant safety measures as outlined in the Commonwealth’s Mandatory Safety Standards for Workplace
  • Keep a daily log of all students in every class and all student and instructors in vehicles. Log everyone who comes in contact with site to enable contact tracing, including temporary visitors (e.g., those doing material drop-offs)
  • Students and instructors must be screened (questioned about) symptoms of COVID-19 which can include fever, cough and sore throat, shortness of breath, fatigue, fever, cough and sore throat, shortness of breath, fatigue, body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting and diarrhea before each shift (for staff) and before the appointment (for students). Staff with any symptoms shall be instructed not to appear for work. Students with any symptoms must be rescheduled

Recommended Best Practices

  • The use of face shields, goggles, or safety glasses may reduce the risk of infection for instructors (and students)

Cleaning and Disinfecting

  • Conduct frequent cleaning and disinfection of non-vehicle facilities (at least daily and more frequently if feasible)
  • Keep cleaning logs that include date, time and scope of cleaning
  • Conduct frequent disinfecting of heavy transit areas and high-touch surfaces (e.g., doorknobs, elevator buttons, staircases, vending machines, bathrooms)
  • In event of a positive case, follow current CDC guidance on cleaning and disinfecting areas when someone has a COVID-19 diagnosis
  • All vehicles must be disinfected following each use, front and back seat areas, regardless of seating use during the previous use. Due to sensitive electronics in cockpits, use of disinfectant wipes with at least 70% isopropyl alcohol is recommended
  • Keep disinfectant wipes in the vehicle for additional cleaning of touchpoints right before a session


Recommended best practices

  • Where possible, use disposable steering wheel covers or seat covers and replace after each use to reduce the possibility of contamination
Last updated: February 25, 2021