While final exams are a stressful time for all U-M students, in the Winter 2021 semester, Muslim students will face an additional set of challenges. This year, the Muslim holiday of Ramadan will fall during finals (the full holiday runs from April 13-May13), and students observing the holiday will be fasting from dawn to sunset. For many students this entails maintaining concentration and energy for exams that might fall late in the afternoon after waking up before dawn to have an early meal; having to postpone breaking the fast until after taking a late exam; or losing sleep while studying late into the night after breaking the fast.
While U-M does not observe religious holidays, its policy on religious-academic conflict does commit instructors to the principle that students should not have to choose between their education and their religious observances. Instructors are, therefore, asked to make accommodations for students in cases where observance affects course commitments. How can you support Muslim students observing the holiday? This resource from UM’s Islamophobia Working Group offers information about Ramadan and guidance for instructors to accommodate fasting students. If you would like to think about implications of these materials for your class and how you can most effectively support students observing Ramadan, CRLT consultants are glad to speak with you. You can request an appointment through CRLT’s website.