Loyola University Chicago

Executive and Professional Education Center

Housed in the Loyola Business Leadership Hub

Teaching About Pandemics: Past, Present, and Future

How can we help our youth understand the ways that COVID-19 is reshaping the world and empower them to become part of that change? This workshop is focused on teaching students about the ways pandemics in the past have changed society so that they can gain perspective on what is happening now and then channel that learning into informed action for a better future.

Pandemics and diseases are not a commonly taught subject in middle and high school history classes, but this will change quickly as COVID-19 has already become a defining historical moment. Teachers and parents are already scrambling to find resources and write lessons about COVID-19 as well as past diseases in an effort to help students make sense of the current moment. Moving forward, educators will want to tap into our common experience with the Coronavirus to generate interest and make connections across time in history classes. This course will support teachers and parents to develop high quality, inquiry-based curriculum that will have students using history to explore major questions about pandemics and society.

  • Educators in the social studies field at any point in their career who wish to incorporate sources, lessons, and units on pandemics into their curricula
  • Parents that are more directly involved in their children’s schooling who would like resources to help their kids put the present into historical context

Participants will:

  • Discuss major themes and concepts in the social and cultural history of pandemics
  • Explore key primary sources to support student learning about past pandemics
  • Evaluate methods for assessing the reliability of information collected from websites and social media
  • Specify and categorize ways that society is presently changing due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Identify strategies for students to articulate what they are learning about society through their current experiences and use that learning to take informed action


For Illinois licensed teachers
You will receive two continuing professional development units (CPDUs).

  • How do pandemics remake society?
  • How should we name a disease?
  • Pandemics in History: The Black Plague, The 1918 Influenza Pandemic, and Polio
  • How is COVID-19 changing our society?
  • How do we find reliable information about our current situation?
  • What comes next and what can youth do?
Charles Tocci
Assistant Professor, Loyola University Chicago
Learn more about Charles
Online Session
Date: July 7, 2020
Time: 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. CDT
Fee: $100