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Swine Flu-Related School Closings Could Cost $47 Billion: Report

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It would cost between $10 billion and $47 billion to close U.S. schools and day-care centers because of swine flu, according to a new report.

Keeping children home from school would mean that parents would have to stay home from work, including some who are health-care workers, said the paper issued by the Brookings' Center on Social and Economic Dynamics, the Associated Press reported.

Among the other estimates:

* The value of lost class time would be $6.1 billion.

* The cost of sweeping school closures in specific cities would be $65 million for Washington, D.C., $1.5 billion for Los Angeles, and $1.1 billion for New York City.
* Large-scale school closures would cause 12 percent of workers to be absent from their jobs. Workplace absenteeism could be higher in lower-income households with only one employed person.

Schools are being told to close only as a last resort, such as when large numbers of students or staff have swine flu, the AP reported. As of Monday, at least 187 schools across the United States had closed, affecting nearly 80,000 students, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

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