For many of the remaining international students stuck at home, transitioning to Shanghai this fall is the most hopeful option, but it might not be the most feasible.
How much will the mandatory quarantine cost exactly? It depends.
Information on the entire quarantine process and what it looks like from an insider perspective is finally available after some students have already completed their stays. For many of the remaining international students stuck at home, transitioning to Shanghai this fall is the most hopeful option, but it might not be the most feasible. How much cash those students will have to fork over before starting school seems a bit ambiguous.
The Washington Post published an article detailing one couple’s return to Beijing in March. At the end of their stay, the total cost of the required COVID tests, room, and board were $1400 USD—about $100 USD per day. All of it was out-of-pocket as well. Comparatively, one year of housing at NYUSH in a triple-bed room is $2,400 USD and $3,600 USD for a single bed. Paying at the couple’s rate means students would burn through almost half of their housing bill in two weeks. Until September, this article seemed like the only accurate estimate for how much students need to compensate for their stay.
In August, there was an informative call for NYUSH families to clarify what the quarantine experience would entail. The school estimated hotels would cost anywhere from $700 USD to $1,000 USD per week depending on their availability.
A notable difference between the Post’s article and the phone call was NYUSH’s administration suggested students pack a few extra items: a two week supply of snacks, a set of clean sheets, and a towel. Taking into account these extensions, the price of the couple’s and a student’s stay might end up being fairly similar.
On the contrary, the quarantine has been deemed a “travel expense,” which means students will have to pay any room and board fees by themselves.
This cost is just quarantine.
Painting a realistic picture of how much a flight to China costs is also challenging. Unlike the quarantine hotels, the price of flying changes almost daily considering how the airline industry has suffered during the pandemic.
In March, South China Morning Post said that a sixty-seat charter flight from the United Kingdom to China would be $290,000 USD for the company wanting to organize it. Individually, it would cost each passenger $5,080 USD (numbers adjusted for inflation). NYUSH has since decided not to take the route of chartering a flight, which was expressed in another one of Vice-Chancellor Lehman’s email updates.
In the informative call in August, the school also said it was looking into getting discounts for students when flights return to normal schedules. There was no mention of how much ticket prices would be reduced. On the contrary, the quarantine has been deemed a “travel expense,” which means students will have to pay any room and board fees by themselves.
Ultimately, the cost of traveling during a pandemic begins to build up—ideally no one should be moving from country to country while COVID-19 is a real, ongoing pandemic. If students continue to push for a fall semester in Shanghai, they will need to gather up an additional few-hundred dollars in order to make it there.
This article was written by Jaden Schapiro, currently based in New York, NY. You can reach out to the authors at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo Credit: Shangri-La Group