KITCHENER -- Curious about how COVID-19 compares to pandemics in the past? The University of Guelph is offering up a new course to answer those questions.

Pandemics: Culture, Science and Society will be offered this fall, covering pandemics from a scientific, cultural, historical and societal perspectives.

The university said in a news release that it believes the course is the first of its kind in Canada.

The U of G said it will bring in expertise from multiple colleges, including biological science, arts, engineering and physical sciences, and social and applied human scientists. The course is designed to look at pandemics through the lens of information, technology, ethics, psychology, social inequities, literature, genetics, nutrition, wildlife biology and mathematical models.

“Pandemics and infectious diseases are complex issues, and it’s therefore necessary to take an interdisciplinary approach to understanding what they mean for the world we live in,” said Elizabeth Finnis, chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology in a news release. “Students will gain a broader understanding of the complexities of infectious diseases, how they can become pandemics and what they mean for different aspects of society.”

The course will be offered online.

The university said it's also currently involved in a number of studies related to COVID-19.

“The global COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted just about every aspect of our lives and is like nothing any of us have experienced,” said Ryan Gregory, chair of the Department of Integrative Biology. “The idea for the course came from facing this topic head on in a way that takes advantage of and showcases the University of Guelph’s unique strengths as a truly comprehensive university with an exceptional community of scholars.”