On Aug. 25, Hurricane Harvey made its presence known by hitting the lower half of Texas and terrorizing people with storms until Sept.2.
It was a tragedy which killed 71 people and destroyed Houston but we were ready.
When Harvey hit, Texas State Governor Greg Abbott called on 24,000 National Guard troops to the Houston area and students were no exception to this call upon duty.
“There were sereval call-ups the first one left the Monday on the 28th but several groups left at different times, there was only a small number of students that left then another group left,” Lupe Barcenas, Assistant Director of Veteran Affairs, said.
Texas law and Coordinating Board rules make certain requirements of students in higher education public institutions which they are called to active military duty.
This is called Texas Education Code (TEC) 51.9111.
This code is in place so that affected students can be excused from attending classes or participating in other required activities.
“Basically what happens is if they’re in the reserve currently enrolled in school and called to active duty, students drop if that’s what they want,” Barcenas said.
This helps protect the students so they may be excused and not have to face being penalized as they are allowed to miss up to 25 percent of classes.
“One of my students came up to me and told me that they’d be gone for two weeks to help with the Harvey relief.
I wished him luck and told him to follow Blackboard so he wouldn’t fall behind,” Yvonne Salcido, Del Valle High School technology instructor said.
All tuition paid prior to the semester starting will be refunded, including all other fees paid by said student.
“Students won’t have to pay back tuition or textbook money.
Any money, like living expenses through VA, will be paid through the end of the month,” said Barcenas.
“We’ve had students come back who didn’t have to drop. They let their instructors know they be away from class.”
Hurricane Harvey affected millions of people and many are doing what they can to help, including EPCC students in the National Guard.
Since the hurricane, Texas has made provisions to encourage students to help with Harvey while keeping them in school so that no active duty student gets abandoned.
“I didn’t have to go thank God because military students weren’t called for, only National Guard, but at least they won’t suffer when they come back to El Paso,” student Jose Carbajal said.