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Fifth-grader in Osaka dies after outdoor PE class, may have been wearing mask

(Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

OSAKA -- A fifth-grader at a municipal elementary school in the city of Takatsuki, Osaka Prefecture, collapsed during a February physical education class and later died in hospital, it has been learned.

    It is possible the student was wearing a mask for coronavirus prevention at the time. Although the Takatsuki Municipal Board of Education said there is no known causal relationship between the mask and the child's death, it urged all its elementary and junior high schools to thoroughly take care of students' health.

    According to the city education board, the child suddenly collapsed while running on school grounds outside at around 9:05 a.m. on Feb. 18. The teacher in charge and others took them to the school nurse's office and called an ambulance. The child was taken to hospital, but died shortly after. It is believed the child was wearing a mask before they started running, but when the teacher rushed to the scene, the child's mask was hanging over their chin.

    The city education board's guidelines do not require students to wear masks during PE, but allow students to if they wish. The board says the class was conducted in accordance with the guidelines.

    (Japanese original by Masaki Takahashi, Osaka City News Department)

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