AP U.S. History Class Researches 1918 Pandemic - Kingswood Oxford

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April 03, 2020

AP U.S. History Class Researches 1918 Pandemic

To add historical context to today’s global crisis with the COVID-19 pandemic, Rob Kyff’s AP US History class is taking a look back on the 1918 flu pandemic, devastating influenza that caused between 17 and 50 million deaths. However, some estimates are as high as 100 million. One of Kyff’s consistent activities this year has been to connect current events to events in the past, so he thought it would be helpful and interesting for the students to examine several different aspects of the 1918 flu pandemic and then compare it to our situation today.


Next week over the course of two days, Kyff’s Zoom classes will center around five to ten-minute oral reports by eight pairs of students and one solo student on the following topics:


Biological/Scientific Aspects – origins, biological nature of the disease, symptoms, how the disease spread

Outbreak in the U.S. – how it was introduced to the U.S., how it spread, how fast it spread and where it spread, numbers of victims, the mortality rate

Medical response – how hospitals, doctors, and clinics responded

Response of government – President Wilson, Congress, federal agencies, state and local governments

Economic impact of the pandemic – corporations, small businesses, workers

Impact on social interaction and institutions – distancing, self-quarantines, isolation, organizations, artistic events, religious services, schools, colleges.

Role of the media – how newspapers, magazines, newsreels, radio covered the outbreak, sensationalism, accuracy

Long-term effects of the pandemic in the U.S. – changes in medical policies, practices, laws, immigration policies, political policies, public health policy


In these historic times, it is important to see the threads that link us to the past and learn lessons and connections as we navigate the crisis. Stay tuned for more updates on this class as the student make their presentations mid-April.

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