Wu journeying home to New Zealand for the remainder of the school year

Senior+Simon+Wu+is+heading+home+to+New+Zealand+where+he+will+be+continuing+classes+remotely+for+the+remainder+of+the+school+year.+Wu+and+his+parents+made+the+decision+due+to+the+worsening+situation+with+regard+to+the+coronavirus+in+the+U.S.+and+increasing+regulations+in+New+Zealand.+

Photo courtesy of Simon Wu

Senior Simon Wu is heading home to New Zealand where he will be continuing classes remotely for the remainder of the school year. Wu and his parents made the decision due to the worsening situation with regard to the coronavirus in the U.S. and increasing regulations in New Zealand.

Logan Schiciano, Editor-in-Chief

Senior Simon Wu never expected Friday, March 6 to be his final day at The Masters School.  With the coronavirus pandemic worsening in the New York metropolitan area (the state has nearly 50 percent of all cases in the United States), he is returning home to Auckland, New Zealand and will finish the remainder of the school year remotely. 

Wu said he and his parents made the decision largely due to the current conditions in the United States and said that his parents didn’t want Wu in New York waiting out a return to school which he believes is highly unlikely.

Another factor that impacted the decision was New Zealand strengthening their measures to prevent the spread of the virus in the country. Though the country has just over 100 coronavirus cases nationwide and all but two of the cases in the country have been related to overseas travel, Prime Minister Jacinda Arden has ordered people to essentially stay home beginning on Wednesday, a measure that will be in effect for at least one month. Wu said that once he returns home he will self-quarantine for 14 days. 

Wu said that more than anything, the situation is disappointing but “makes sense” in the end. 

“It’s pretty crazy,” he said. “Obviously, I never expected it to end this way but it is what it is.”

Wu was staying with fellow senior Leo Hsu in New York up until today. Hsu, who considers Wu “a brother, and even that would be an understatement,” recalled his initial reaction to the news.

“I felt a great sense of sadness and stress. It really set in for me about how serious the virus was because it wasn’t his fault for deciding to go back to New Zealand,” Hsu said.

Wu will be flying today (March 25) from New York to Houston, Texas before taking a long-haul to Auckland but is not planning on taking any additional precautionary measures, like wearing a mask or goggles, when traveling. 

“I think it’s good to stay aware and know what’s going on, but I’m not freaking out,” he said.

Wu will continue to attend Masters’ classes virtually for the remainder of the year. He explained that the international boarding community was recently notified by Director of Global Studies and Civic Exchange Dr. Robert Fish that they are not expected to be present for classes that take place after midnight in their respective time zones; as for actually graduating and receiving his diploma, Wu said he has “no idea” at this moment how things will work out. 

Wu has attended The Masters School since his sophomore year, including a semester in the CITYterm program during his junior year. He reflected on his time at the school. 

“I’ve realized there were things that I wish I could’ve done, some things I wish I could’ve done better, but you don’t realize how important things are until they actually come to an end,” he said. 

Hsu, who is flying home to Taiwan today but intends to return if school resumes in May, explained the bond he and Wu share.

He said, “We have this connection where we don’t even have to talk to know what the other person is thinking. Those friendships only come once in a while so it’s very sad to see that I don’t even know when I can see him next.” While he said he’ll miss Wu’s authenticity and companionship, Hsu is grateful for their great chess games, shared sense of humor and binge-watching food videos together.

As for a future meet-up, Wu is hopeful. 

“I’m optimistic that I’ll see some of my friends at some point,” he said.