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As Texas A&M resumes fall classes, concerns grow about large gatherings

Sorority groups were seen gathering in groups of more than 10 over the weekend in College Station
Published: Aug. 18, 2020 at 4:24 PM CDT
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - As Texas A&M prepares for a new school year concerns remain over COVID-19 cases going up in our area. Over the weekend photos on Sorority Row received lots of attention. KBTX found sorority groups gathering outside for photos, where many were not wearing masks or practicing social distancing.

College Station Police tell us they’ve had two complaints of gatherings since Thursday that weren’t at a business. One of those mentioned was a sorority.

Texas A&M guidelines on campus include wearing face masks and groups of no more than 10.

”There were definitely lots and lots of young women here in the sorority houses that are behind us,” said Chelsea Thorn, a College Station resident. “They were definitely congregating in large groups, taking photographs very close to each other without masks. A couple of them did have masks on but they would take it off pretty regularly.”

Thorn lives by the sorority houses and is a Biological Sciences Graduate Student and teacher at Sam Houston State University. She said all college students need to take COVID-19 seriously.

“You need to make sure that you’re adhering to those social distancing rules because while you might not be very sick you could get your neighbor very sick or you could get your parents sick or sorority brother or sister,” said Thorn. “You could really cause a lot of damage without meaning to.”

KBTX shared our pictures with leadership at Texas A&M for a response. The Greek Life Advisor said Tuesday they will take corrective action if it comes to that and are constantly communicating their expectations to student groups. They said everyone should follow the guidelines and avoid large gatherings. Currently groups of more than 10 need the Mayor or County Judge’s approval.

Others that live in the area said precautions are happening.

“There was a lot of behind the scenes stuff that you don’t see,” said Ashlynn Droddy. She recently graduated from Texas A&M and was in a sorority. She also lives near these sorority houses.

”From people that I know inside sororities they did do a lot of things to follow guidelines... I would say just be mindful of a lot of people on campus. There’s a lot of people that are in that vulnerable age group,” said Droddy.

“They want to have a great time and they want to have the college experience but they also need to be cautious especially when gathering,” added Thorn.

University officials weren’t available for an interview Tuesday but said student leaders of organizations have been told multiple times what the university policies are for social distancing and wearing face coverings. Texas A&M resumes the fall semester Wednesday.

Texas A&M leadership also provided this response:

“We’ve been reviewing and investigating reports while communicating with select student oversight / umbrella organizations,” said Kelly Brown, with Texas A&M Marketing & Communications.

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