How colleges are beginning to teach about coronavirus

Central College in Iowa will offer "An Interdisciplinary Conversation on COVID-19" this summer
By: | May 4, 2020
A coronavirus test is conducted at the University of Kentucky.A coronavirus test is conducted at the University of Kentucky.

The coronavirus and COVID-19 have is making it onto the curriculum at a growing number of colleges and universities.

Central College in Iowa will offer two, remote summer courses on the pandemic—one for incoming freshmen and another for current students.

Both 11-week courses are titled “An Interdisciplinary Conversation on COVID-19” and will be team-taught by almost 20 faculty and staff members from 12 different college departments.

“The new courses are an academic answer to these unusual times,” Mary E.M. Strey, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty, said in a university news bulletin. “They will give new students an early introduction to Central’s dynamic and talented faculty and keep our current students connected with their professors and fellow students.”


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The free, for-credit courses will cover the history of pandemics, the science of COVID-19, how to map the spread of the disease, the economics of the pandemic, pandemics in poetry and music, and international responses to the global challenge.

Faculty members collaborating on the courses teach in biology, chemistry, economics, education, exercise science, English, French, German, history, mathematics and computer science, music, philosophy and physics.

Stony Brook University on Long Island in New York is offering a COVID service-learning course through its Renaissance School of Medicine.

The class will cover topics such as:

  • Meal distribution for our residents and hospitalists
  • Geriatric outreach
  • Connecting patients with telehealth
  • Manufacturing and distributing personal protective equipment
  • Screening people as they come into the hospital
  • COVID testing in pathology labs
  • COVID data collection

UB’s coronavirus page offers complete coverage of the impacts on higher ed.