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Re-Opening after COVID

I buried my Father this month; he struggled long and fought hard, this cancer of his, but this governor's shut-down prohibited his family from visiting or even seeing him at his nursing home.  I believe the sudden and confusing loss of touch, of social contact due to this new practice we call "distancing," hurried his decline in health--mental and physical, and ultimately sped up his demise.

As a result of me attending to his funeral and burial services--and grieving with my family, I have been out of my main Auburn office for quite some time.  I just returned this week to master-mind and develop a blue-print for re-opening NorthStar with a multi-phasic plan.  It requires patience and understanding on the part of our entire customer base as we have been forced for over 2 months TO CLOSE OUR DOORS by this state's governor.  Please, do the math with me.

What are the outcomes of such a shut-down?  Well, first, we could not employ regular instructors and support staff over the long-haul.  That should be obvious to most intelligent, working individuals.  Those employees needed help for themselves and their families, and in many cases some did not see State assistance until much too far into this economic ordeal.  As a result, NorthStar lost several instructors and call center staff.

    We are in a re-building phase, therefore, due to this collective, on-going State response to this COVID-19 outbreak.  While I am actively seeking new candidates for the instructor ranks and perhaps any currently licensed Driver's ED teachers, I MUST PRIORITIZE OUR CURRENT INSTRUCTION according to the following needs of our long-attending, as well as the most recent veteran, students:

1.  I have initially scheduled May 29 and 30 for both make-up days and testing days for past and current students.  THESE CLASSES WILL BE CONDUCTED IN AUBURN ALONE and we will allow ONLY 15 students in at a time to maintain a decent radii of physical distance from each other as necessary.  (SEE BELOW FOR THE GUIDELINES FOR ATTENDANCE.)

   May 28  4-6p, 6-8p   MAKE-UP
   May 29  4-6p, 6-8p   FINAL Class #15

2.  The following week I will add several more "make-up" sessions for students from all locations, and of course, include 2 more sets of FINAL Classes for students that are simply missing their last day and Driver's ED test.  THEN. . .

3.  I will add a larger time slot for DOL Knowledge Testing for students that have completed their 30 hours of Driver's ED in the classroom (web-based or otherwise), eliminating the option for testing by outside or general public test takers.  In other words, NorthStar is commited to serve our teenage student population first and exclusively for a time while we catch up with the necessary services.

4.  As we had several students already registered for classes posted our yearly schedule, WE WILL RESUME in CLASSROOM instruction the 2nd week of June and adjust our summer schedule accordingly.

5.  Concurrently, we will offer a WEB-BASED classroom, virtual environment, to a select number of students that are more comfortable with this mode of instruction ALONGSIDE the in-class experience.  

6.  THEN, that same week, we will resume in-car instruction and testing in the following manner for our NorthStar students:
    a.  PRIORITY of lessons will be given to the students that are both 16 years
          or over, AND have 6 months or more on their permit,
          AND need their last (or 5th) BTW Lesson to qualify for their license.
    b.  AFTER that, we will turn to the students that need their 4th BTW lesson
         and so on. . .
    c.  AS WE LEARN of the potential re-opening of the DOL License Service
           OFFICES, THEN we will schedule students' SKILLS TESTS so that
           their completion may coincide with their acquisition of their first IDL.
           Again, we will not be administering tests to the general population
           as our priority lies with our teenage drivers.
    d.  KNOWLEDGE EXAMS will resume only once a week, at two branches.
            FRIDAY, starting June 5, 5-8p in AUBURN to start.
               Seating is limited--we are only allowed 15 at a time, but may admit
               a new test-taker once 1 has exited.  This means of course there 
               may be a wait-line of other test-takers OUTSIDE the confined 
               premises.  The test takes approximately 30 minutes to complete,
               so we could potentially serve 30-40 students during that stint.

7.  The state put forth some guidelines, and then walked-back a couple requirements, that we will do our best to observe:
     a.  Anybody that enters our facilities for service should observe GOOD
          and DECENT hygiene in the form of hand-washing (20 seconds+)
          AND resisting TOUCHING one's face.  Every branch has soap and a sink at the ready.
     b.  EVERY CUSTOMER and STAFF member will have a mask.
     c.  NorthStar will provide as best as possible, hand-sanitizer openly.
     d.  NorthStar will "Clorox-wipe" down certain surfaces as necessary
          both in the classroom and the vehicle.

8.  NorthStar Driving Academy, LLC, reserves the right to refuse service
       when or if any of the above is not adhered to by the public OR
       from its own ranks. . .

9.    meaning. . .we will send any staff member or customer HOME and 
       recommend medical attention if anyone exhibits a sign or signs of
       influenza-like symptoms.

Again, this has been an absolute, nearly "totalitarian" shut-down forced
on everyone, every business declared "non-essential", and on you and
your family as observed.  I'm sure we all have our unique stories of 
hardship both present and past, and I'm willing to hear them as time allows.

As the founder and CEO of NorthStar the last 13 years, I am committed as always
to see that our youth are treated with abject respect and are encouraged to put forth
their best attempts at evincing responsible behavior worthy of them receiving a well-
sought after, privileged driver's license.  I've never relinquished that sense of vocation.
   Only now, I have to pare down on services to address with the limited resources
we have now, the most immediate needs.

I thank you, in advance for your understanding and promise to work with everyone
the best we can during this interim period of re-opening a small business in Washington
State.

Yours sincerely,


Bruce A. Richey
"There is more to life than increasing its speed."
            ~Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

Bruce A. Richey, M.Div.
"The Street Preacher"
NorthStar Driving Academy
30 B Street NE
Auburn, WA  98002
preacher@NstarDriving.com
NstarDriving.com
888.644.5777
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