Video Special: APUSH class compares 1918 pandemic to coronavirus


Article by Sloan Duvall ’21, Videos edited by Ahana Nagarkatti ’21

Throughout the year, history teacher Rob Kyff’s AP US History class has had unique opportunities to compare the historical events they have studied to current events. Impeachments, executive power, and foreign affairs have all been compared and contrasted throughout this year’s curriculum. The most recent comparison came between the Spanish Flu of 1918 and the current COVID-19 crisis. Pairs of students (and one individual student), examined various aspects of both pandemics and created presentations that they shared with their classmates. 

The subtopics groups researched include: the biological aspect, the outbreak in the U.S., medical response, response of the government, economic impact, social impact, role of the media and long term effects. Students created 5-10 minute oral reports with Google Slides presentations they screen shared on Zoom. 

Junior Kyle Frankel researched the social impacts of the 1918 pandemic which he found to be especially pertinent to our current situation. “I was surprised to find out that the same city was one of the fastest to respond with social restrictions for both pandemics,” Kyle said. “San Francisco was ahead of the curve and put restrictions on early, both then and now.”

Junior Henry Mandell focused on the long term effects of the 1918 pandemic on the US and how those relate to the coronavirus. “I thought it was interesting that we have precedent and things that we know don’t work and we still didn’t put them into effect 100 years later,” Henry said.

Junior Sydney Smith studied the response of the government to both pandemics. “It was interesting to see how the government has learned from past mistakes and changed their approach to the virus/pandemic because of it,” Sydney said. 

Overall, students found the 1918 pandemic project to be a creative and engaging way to study APUSH material, while also connecting it to current events. 

Video Links:

Ahana Nagarkatti and Cohl D’Addabbo:

Sydney Smith and Wil Elliot:

Sydney Dwyer and Chris Sienko:

Sloan Duvall:

Izzy Berckemeyer and Evan Banning:

Henry Mandell and Isabelle Rome:

Mary Kaliszewski and Matt Bzowyckyj:

Brandon DeLucia and Kyle Frankel:

Playlist of all projects: