Below are High School District 214 and Mid-Suburban League (MSL) weather policies relating to practices, contests, and performances on snow days, excessive heat, excessive cold, severe weather and during lightning storms.
Mid-Suburban League Weather Policy
These guidelines represent minimum standards that Mid-Suburban League member schools should follow for athletic competitions and practices when the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) is above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The IHSA officials and administration, in conjunction with the head athletic trainer, will make the decision to suspend and resume activity for practices and non-state series contests. State series tournament managers will make the decisions to suspend and resume activity in accordance with the IHSA guidelines using those devices or systems usually used at the state series venue/site.
When the weather forecast indicates elevated temperatures, the athletic trainer will take WBGT readings thirty minutes prior to the start of a game or thirty minutes prior to the start of the day’s activities. Once the initial reading is taken, WBGT readings will be taken every 60 minutes until it has been determined the WBGT readings are below the yellow zone (see MSL Weather Policy document below).
Minimum restrictions for athletic activity will be established thirty minutes prior to the start of activity. Readings will be recorded in writing and the records will be maintained within the athletics department. Use Table 1 (see MSL Weather Policy document below) with an on-site WBGT reading for appropriate exercise modifications during all indoor and outdoor athletic activities.
NOTE: While most attention will be given to outdoor sports in the fall and spring, indoor venues/facilities (gymnasiums, wrestling rooms, and swimming/diving facilities) that are not air conditioned should not be neglected for the purposes of this policy. Additionally, sometimes conditions will vary for different aspects of the same competition or practice. For example, one part of a cross-country course may be hotter or more humid than other parts. The best course of action for certified athletic trainers and managers is to take a WBGT reading at the place of the most severe conditions.
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."
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.