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A&M students weigh risks of staying local or going home for the holidays amid pandemic

Posted at 5:53 PM, Nov 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-16 20:24:26-05

COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS — As college students start gearing up to head home for the holidays, the question looms...is Thanksgiving dinner worth the potential risk of passing along the coronavirus?

To some, yes, but to others, no way.

Are most students traveling home to spend the holidays with loved ones? Are some staying back to prevent the spread?

25 News spoke with a handful of students about their future holiday travel plans and whether or not the pandemic has anything to do with their decisions.

Texas A&M University says their message for the holidays is clear: get tested before you leave.

Texas A&M has seen occasional spikes in COVID cases and Aggie officials are encouraging proper precautions be met as students travel home. Some students say the risk of speaking COVID-19 simply isn't worth it.

"Yeah ... I am not going to risk it at all especially since they are my family. I don't want to cause them any harm. They are important to me," Lorraine Palacious, a Texas A&M senior said.

As the year progresses towards the start of another holiday season, other students say family time is valuable, despite a pandemic threatening every day lives.

"I think it is important to be with your family. You don't know when you are going to be with them again. So you should always make the most of it. We obviously want to keep people safe, but also enjoy our family and our time with them," Kyle Allison, a TAMU senior said.

Blake Moran is also an Aggie senior who is heading home to the greater Houston area for the holidays and says testing is on his mind.

"Yeah I plan to test before I go home to see if I have it or not. I am also going out of town, so I need to test for that when I enter a new state and when I leave," Moran added.

Testing is something Texas A&M has an abundance of. The university is offering the campus community 8 different locations including a drive-thru option.

"So that is another option if you are going home... you can do that first," Shayla Ward, TAMU senior said.

The University says testing information and results are critical for making university decisions, which allow them to get a true understanding of COVID-19 within the campus community that has seen cases soar in recent weeks.

"I know when I go home I usually wear a mask. My mom is the one who has an autoimmune disease. My other family members I will wear one around them because they are elderly," Palacios added.

According to the university calendar, Tuesday November 24th is the last day of classes for the fall semester. The spring semester is set to start January 19th. It's nearly a month-long break, with a lot of risks in between.