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Even compared to past school closures during global crises, such as the Spanish flu, the level of education disruption and lost learning today due to COVID-19 is unparalleled. Though much about the current global pandemic remains unknown, history and emerging research teach us that the COVID-19 crisis will have deep and lasting repercussions for both education and earnings, at both the individual and aggregate levels: The impact of the Spanish flu lasted into the 1980s, with children in utero during the pandemic later showing reduced educational attainment and lower income—among other losses—as compared with other birth cohorts.

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