In Fall of 2020 students were at home, learning to adjust to online learning amidst isolation and fear of an illness that was still a mystery to many. Under the instruction of Dr. Kim Martin, the History Department at the University of Guelph offered HIST2170: Contextualizing COVID-19: Plight, Pandemic, and Policy hoping that students would learn from the past and recognize the importance of recording their own experiences. The course description read: 

"The course will examine COVID-19 in historical perspective through lectures from History Faculty on topics including medieval and early modern plagues, the 1918 and other pandemics, the history of vaccination and public health, the rise of hospitals, as well as tourism and sports in times of disruption. Students will create a COVID-19 digital archive, using media, photographs, diaries, and other sources. They will also be trained in the creation of historical and digital archives and in designing a coherent collection."

Students worked in groups to research a topic of their choice related to the pandemic. Here are the different themes from the Contextualizing Covid-19 Class of 2020:




Policing and Imprisonment

two women in a field doing warriors pose (yoga) They are kneeling on the ground with their arms in the air, facing each other. The woman on the left id wearing all black and has long brown hair. The woman on the right is wearing light blue and black and has blond hair. Both are wearing disposable masks. There is a forest visible in the background.

Positive Outcomes

Sports and Fitness


University Education


Some students also opted to create an additional assignment, outlining A Day in the Life of a student during the early days of COVID-19.