by Sandra Feder
Teaching students about the existential threat of a pandemic as they are living through one can help make the danger feel less hypothetical and much more real.
Rashid Al-Abri did not anticipate that one of the most impactful classes he would take at Stanford his first year would be about threats to human existence. But now that he is one of only a few hundred students remaining on campus due to the outbreak of COVID-19, the existential threat of a pandemic – one of the four threats outlined in the freshman course Preventing Human Extinction – is easier to conceive. “Living on campus almost feels surreal,” said Al-Abri, who was not able to return to his home in Al Buraimi, Oman, due to the impact of the virus.