Kids collapsed at song festival for 'various reasons'

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The Education and Science Ministry's special commission, set up to determine why children experienced fainting spells during a dress rehearsal on the Mezaparks open-air stage at this year's Youth Song and Dance Festival, has concluded that it was due to an accumulation of various different circumstances.

The commission's head Evija Papule told reporters on Wednesday that based on information available to the commission, one of the main reasons for the fainting spells was that children were tired due to waking up too early and going to sleep too late, as well as lack of normal lunches and, in some cases, dehydration. Steep changes in temperature were also a contributing factor.

In addition, there were too many children on the stage during the rehearsal, which could have prompted panic among the children.

At the next festival, there will be fewer children on the stage, although the total number of children participating in the festival will not reduce. Modern infrastructure needs to be created for the next Youth Song and Dance Festival, and there will be a chief health expert who will oversee the events and intervene if necessary.

Furthermore, the number and duration of concerts will be revised for the next festival, said Papule.

The commission will submit its report to Education and Science Minister Marite Seile today, who will then decide what to do with the commission's findings. Papule said she believed that the commission's report would be made public, but that would be decided by the minister.

The commission, which held its last meeting yesterday, did not look into possible violations by the organizers of the festival.

As reported, taking into account that several dozen children experienced fainting spells during Gala concert's rehearsal.

17 children were hospitalized, nine of them overnight.

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