Below are High School District 214 weather policies relating to practices, contests, and performances on snow days, in high heat and humidity, and during lightning storms.
First Snow Day - No Practices
Teams/groups with contests/performances on the following day may receive consideration for practice if the building principal talks to the Superintendent and weather conditions have improved by 1:00 p.m. Very substantial reasons must be given for squads/groups (other than varsity) to be given permission for practice. Under most circumstances, underclass teams/groups will not practice.
Second Snow Day and Others in a Series of Snow Days
The Superintendent will give varsity teams/groups the privilege of practicing, if conditions warrant, after 1:00 p.m. each day. Very substantial reasons must be given for any squads/groups (other than varsity) to be given permission for practice. Under most circumstances, underclass teams will not practice.
Practices on all snow days must be voluntary on the part of team/group members.
Coaches/sponsors or assistant principals for student activities are to check conditions at the school, either in person or by telephone with someone at the school, before calling any team/group members.
Before a contest/performance can take place on a snow day, approval must be given by the superintendent(s) and principal(s) of schools involved.
Applicable only for MSL contests:
When the Temperature-Humidity Index is 100o or higher, all MSL contests will be postponed and rescheduled according to league-adopted procedures. The Temperature-Humidity Index to be used will be the reading at O'Hare Airport two hours prior to game time. Contests may be postponed with less lead time only by mutual consent.
Practice conditions will be evaluated by the athletic training staff either by direct measurement on site or through weather radio. This is done before practice and as conditions warrant. Temperature and relative humidity conditions will be posted and updated for all coaches along with the following practice guidelines. Athletic trainers will keep a log record of temperature and humidity during times of extreme conditions.
The following scale is used to determine what limitations are imposed on athletic activities. In game situations, decisions regarding heat and humidity will be made by IHSA officials and the administrator on duty in collaboration with the trainer(s) and coaches.
|Less than 70%
||Less than 89 degrees
|More than 70%
||Shortened practices with water breaks (football-minimum pads).
|Less than 70%
||Shortened practices with water breaks (football-minimum pads).
|More than 70%
||Restricted practice as defined by coach, trainer, and administrator consultation.
Athletes will be instructed to remove themselves from any athletic activity if they feel overheated. If an athlete has any symptoms of heat related illness (see signs and symptoms below), he/she will be removed from any athletic activity and given reasonable and prudent immediate care by the training and/or coaching staff. The athlete's parent/guardian will be notified and advised to contact their physician or go to the local emergency room if symptoms persist or worsen.
Athletes with any heat related illness (see signs and symptoms below) will be reevaluated by the certified Athletic Trainer before being allowed to return to activity. The coach will verify the athletes practice status with the athletic trainer prior to the athlete returning to activity.
The assistant principal for student activities, associate principals, principal, and/or assistant superintendent for educational services will be notified of practice limitations and are responsible for monitoring the adherence to these guidelines.
Heat-related Illness: Signs and Symptoms
||Involuntary muscle spasm (usually located in, but not limited, to calves).
||Throbbing headache, nausea, vomiting, chills, dizziness or lightheadedness, rapid pulse, cool and clammy skin, pale skin color, and/or excessive sweating.
|Heat Stroke (medical emergency)
||Disorientation, slurred speech, confusion or aggressive behavior, unconsciousness, dry skin (absence of sweat is highly suggestive of heat related illness but sweating may be present as well), flushed/hot skin, rapid/pounding pulse.
Prevention of Heat Related Illness
- Allow unlimited access to water/fluids at all practices and games.
- Watch players who have a high body fat; have to work harder for same results.
- Watch players who have smaller bodies; less surface area to get rid of heat.
- Watch the very young - prepubertal; sweating mechanism not fully developed until then.
- Watch those with more clothing/equipment; the heat is trapped against their bodies.
- Encourage athletes to drink fluids at same rate that they lost them (work hard, drink a lot).
- Talk to athletes and coaches in preseason about prevention of heat illness (Gatorade video).
- Discourage weight loss if it is only fluid loss (wrestlers, etc.).
- Set up a weight chart and have players weigh in/out/in before practice; measure fluid loss.
- Check urine; dark, concentrated urine means dehydrated, clear means hydrated.
- Those who are not acclimatized are at greater risk. Acclimatization is the process where the body learns to function more efficiently in the heat. For example, in the spring, 75û feels warm, but when you are acclimatized to the heat in the summer 75û feels cold!
- Those athletes who are in poor physical condition are at higher risk. For example, the ones who did not do summer school sports are at greater risk in the fall.
- Athletes who have been ill, have a fever, or are recovering from an illness are at greater risk.
- Athletes must drink past the point where their thirst is quenched.
- Fluids should be available freely to all athletes at all times.
- Athletes must replenish fluids to the weight they were before practice.
- Athletes should check their urine color before practice; if it is dark, they are still dehydrated and should drink before practice.
- Cold water is an excellent replacement fluid.
- Fluids other than water:
- Sports drinks are generally only necessary during long term activities. They help replenish sugar and minerals lost in sweat. However, they are not harmful at any time.
- Avoid drinks high in sugar (sodas) due to slow absorption.
- Avoid drinks high in caffeine: tea, sodas, coffee. They cause urination.
The following policy is implemented to insure the safety of students, staff, and the public during times of Lightning. It applies to all out-of-doors district activities including but not limited to athletics, field trips, band practices/events, etc.
MSL Lightning Guidelines
All Mid-Suburban schools employ the Thor Guard lightning prediction and warning system as an aid in predicting severe weather situations. Because of this, it is important that all MSL school personnel understand the Thor Guard warning system and take appropriate precautions when the system indicates impending severe weather.
1. When the Thor Guard System Activates:
- The system will sound a warning horn of one-15 second blast when there is a threat of lightning in the vicinity.
- In addition to the horn blast, a strobe light mounted on the unit will continue to flash until the all-clear signal has sounded.
- When either of these warnings (15 second blast or flashing strobe) occur, all personnel (players, coaches, spectators and officials) must evaluate the field and seek safe shelter.
- The all-clear signal is three 5-second blasts with 3-second intervals in between. The strobe light will also turn off at this time.
- Contests may not resume until the all-clear has sounded and the strobe light has shut off.
2. If there is lightning, but the Thor Guard system does not activate - use the "30-30 Rule":
- Thirty (30) second flash-to-bang - count the number of seconds from the time you see the lightning (flash) until you hear the thunder (bang). If this number is 30 or less, all personnel must evacuate the field and seek safe shelter.
- Once you have evacuated the field, there should be a 30 minute wait from the last lightning flash or thunderclap until resuming play.
3. Contest officials may use their discretion:
- Even if the Thor Guard does not activate and there are more than 30 seconds from flash-to-bang, once play has begun, the contest official has the authority to suspend play based upon his/her determination of the safety of the participants.
- In such situations, school officials should met with the game officials to determine the length of the suspension and resumption of the contest.
4. Safe Shelter:
- A safe location is a frequently inhabited building such as the school or out building.
- A secondary choice is a fully enclosed vehicle with a metal roof such as a bus or car.
- If no safe structure or vehicle is available, find a thick grove of small trees surrounded by larger trees or a dry ditch. Assume a crouch position on the balls of your feet, minimizing contact with the ground.
- Do not take refuge under bleachers or near fences, light poles, or individual trees.
5. Sample Announcement for Severe Weather:
- "Ladies and Gentlemen: We are requesting your assistance in seeking safe shelter due to current weather conditions. Players are to meet with their coaches inside the building. We are asking the fans not to remain on, under or near the bleachers, light poles, or fences. You are encouraged to move inside the building or to your cars. When it is safe to continue, an announcement will be made. The teams will warm up and play will then continue. Thank you for your cooperation."