COLLEGE STATION, TX — Texans in southeast Texas have been evacuating to the Brazos Valley since Monday ahead of Hurricane Laura's arrival. Among them are Texas A&M Galveston students following a mandatory evacuation by the school.
More than 50 students were bused to College Station, including freshman Nicholas Aragon.
“I had nowhere to go seeing that I’m from El Paso. I didn’t have a car and I don't have any family around here so I had to evacuate with the school," he said.
For students like senior Taylor Hayes, this is not her first evacuation with the university. Three years ago to the week, they were doing the same thing for Hurricane Harvey.
“They do everything that they can to ensure that our students are safe. Being that we are a coastal school they [A&M Galveston] make sure we [students] are the first people on the island to know whether or not we are to evacuate, and both experiences have been very positive,” she said.
With many others traveling to the Brazos Valley due to the storm, the coronavirus pandemic continues to be a concern.
“You know we’re dealing with two different storms at the same time with COVID plus a hurricane, and that absolutely played into our preparations and our operations,” said Col. Michael Fossum, Texas A&M Galveston Chief Operating Officer.
Students say evacuating for Hurricane Laura is just adding more challenges to this unique school year.
“It’s a unique experience for my class being that not only did we graduate during COVID, but now we're going to college during COVID and also now we have a hurricane. Two tropical storms, one turning into a hurricane that hasn’t happened for I think 50 years from what I’ve heard, it's kind of crazy,” said Aragon.
“And then to only be at the university for only a week before having to evacuate again is definitely something new,” said Hayes.
As of Wednesday afternoon, classes were canceled and will resume Thursday and Friday remotely.
School officials say everyone who evacuated to the Brazos Valley will be tested for COVID-19 when they return to campus.