Concerns over house parties raised days before Texas State University starts in-person classes

Hays

SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) — On Thursday around midnight, Manny Salinas says there was a party next door to his San Marcos apartment complex.

So, he snapped a picture and posted it to Twitter, writing “Hundreds of warnings, news stories, months of restrictions, and here we are, no better than we were before. I’ve lost any and all hope.”

“This just absolutely reinforced what I feared was going to happen,” says Ruby Recovo, another Texas State University senior.

Recovo says she lives near the incident, which she and Salinas say happened right across campus. They believe the people pictured are students.

“Chances are there’s going to be another party tonight. By the way things have been going, I wouldn’t doubt it,” Recovo says.

Both she and Salinas say they’ve seen more parties since then– and have even reported some to campus and San Marcos police.

“Seeing house parties go unchecked at a time like this, it really doesn’t make me feel confident,” Salinas tells KXAN News.

A university spokesperson said they didn’t have enough details on the photo to respond.

They also wouldn’t tell KXAN if any person or group has been disciplined, so far, citing privacy policies.

Texas State University’s website indicates that students began moving in August 16, with fall classes beginning Monday.

Rules include mandatory masks and classrooms at half capacity.

Ruby Recovo has asthma and urges her fellow students to ‘think about the community’ before they attend parties or large gatherings without proper safety measures. (Courtesy: Ruby Recovo)

Students are also required to watch a safety video online.

“Avoid large social gatherings, especially if you can see that there’s no physical distancing and that people aren’t wearing masks,” Dr. Emilio Carranco, Texas State University’s chief medical officer says in the video.

When KXAN asked how the university plans to handle large gatherings, like the one pictured, the spokesperson directed us to their compliance web page, where people can fill out referral forms to the dean of students’ office.

“It feels like they’re putting off the responsibility of leadership onto the students, and they’re saying, ‘hey, it’s up to the students to, to be held accountable,'” Recovo says.

University officials have also announced socially distant learning hubs and a new contact tracing system called Bobcat Trace.

But Recovo and Salinas say they there needs to be better enforcement.

“The fact that we’re seeing this before we can even step foot on campus has me completely terrified, for what awaits tomorrow and the days following,” Recovo says.

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