2019-2020: Religious Accommodations

October 4, 2019

Dear faculty & staff, coaches, and colleagues,

In support of our religiously diverse student population and in compliance of Title XXI Chapter151C Section2B of the General Laws of Massachusetts, we would like to remind you of next week’s start of the Jewish high holiday of Yom Kippur, beginning at sundown on Tuesday, October 8 and continues with a fast through to nightfall, Wednesday, October 9.

The observance of any holy day may have an impact on work or class attendance or a student's ability to meet an assignment deadline. Please note that the religious high holidays and observances are based on the religious identification of our current student population.

Students are advised in the Student Handbook to contact their professors, coaches or staff employer in advance of the holiday and preferably at the beginning of each semester if their observance will determine that they will miss a class, athletic activity, or work—and need an extension/alternate exam/or permission to complete work due on these dates. This is especially the case for students who may choose to go home for all or part of the holiday celebrations. It is highly encouraged that faculty, staff employer, and coaches add a note to their syllabi or job expectations indicating your recognition of this religious accommodation so students are not hesitant to make their needs known.

Upcoming Holy Days:

Sukkot begins at sunset on Sunday, October 13 and continues until nightfall on Tuesday, October 15.

Diwali-- Sunday, October 27 (starts on October 25, ends on October 29)

The holidays of Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah are celebrated from sunset on Sunday, October 20 until nightfall on Tuesday, October 22.

An additional reminder will also be sent out at the start of the Spring semester to note our Spring semester religious holidays—however, please note in advance the following dates: Passover, sundown April 8—sundown, April 16. Good Friday, April 10, and Orthodox Good Friday, April 17. The holy month of Ramadan will be observed within the academic calendar beginning at sunset of April 23/24 (depending on the lunar reading).

For additional information, please check with Annette McDermott, Dean of the Office of Religious & Spiritual Life, ammcderm@mtholyoke.edu, and/or our Jewish and Muslim chaplains: Amelia Ender aender@mtholyoke.edu and Elizaveta Lozavaya elozovay@mtholyoke.edu about services and events taking place on-campus during these holidays. All religious holidays and events are posted on the MHC events calendar.