New MSHSAA Recommendation Will Affect Activities At Every School
Whether or not they knew it, Clark County Indian football fans witnessed the district’s first real application of the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) new heat recommendation when Saturday’s Red & Gray game was postponed.
At Thursday night’s meeting of the Clark County R-1 School Board, Superintendent Dr. Ritchie Kracht made board members aware of a new recommendation by MSHSAA concerning heat and extracurricular activities, which he became aware of less than two weeks ago.
MSHSAA has recommended that instead of using the heat index reported by the National Weather Service, schools should instead use a device using a wet-bulb thermometer, which also take into account location, cloud cover, humidity, and wind speed. Wet bulbs usually read cooler temperatures, because they are affected by evaporation. Drier air, and high wind speeds cause more cooling.
The handheld device costs approximately $471, and the district will need several.
Based on the wet-bulb temperature, the recommendations vary from adding additional breaks to prohibiting activities. For example, if the wet-bulb temperature exceeds 92 degrees, the activity would need to be stopped, delayed or cancelled. Kracht noted that the 92 degrees on the wet-bulb could be significantly different than on a regular thermometer.
“It’s going to be the recommendation of the administration that we adopt this policy,” Kracht stated.
Kracht explained that if they did not, and if a student became overheated, it could result in legal issues for the district.
“Up until now, we’ve done a really good job managing the heat. We’ve delayed games and shortened practices. Mr. Dooley has allowed the band to wear shorts and t-shirts on really hot parade days, and they carry water, and the kids can drop out of line if they need to,” Kracht said.
“But If I’m on the stand, and a lawyer asks why we didn’t follow MSHSAA’s recommendation, what am I supposed to say?” he asked. “I don’t see any way we could defend that.”
“This is a case where my personal and professional opinion differ,” he added.
For their part, the board was divided on whether to adopt the policy only for MSHSAA activities, or to extend it further to include marching band, outdoor classroom activities, elementary school recess, field trips, and FFA activities such as trap shooting. One board member even joked that the FFA greenhouse would need to be kept cooler.
The board rejected a motion to apply it to all extracurricular activities, with dissenters wanting to find out how other districts were handling the recommendation prior to applying it to all activities. A second motion to adopt the recommendation for MSHSAA activities was approved.
On Friday, I interviewed CCR-1 Activities Director Jason Church for more information on this subject. You can watch that five-minute video interview below: