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University Advisory about Religious Holidays and Class Absences

Why you should skip class for the Jewish holidays, especially the High Holidays, click here

Many students have asked about missing classes due to High Holidays and other Jewish holidays.

Please note: under Illinois State Law, faculty are obligated to provide accommodations to students observing religious holidays. See here

In addition, the university has created a uniform policy that you can access regarding religious observances. The following is from the University of Chicago website

The University of Chicago is home to students of all the world’s major religious traditions and, though firmly a secular institution, values the rich diversity of spiritual expression and practice to be found on campus.

It is therefore the policy of the University that students who miss class, assignments, or exams to observe a religious holiday must be accommodated as follows: (i) absences may not be counted as a missed class in any course in which attendance is a measure of academic performance; (ii) reasonable extensions of time must be given, without academic penalty, for missed assignments; and (iii) exams must be reasonably rescheduled without academic penalty. Where a religious holiday occurs during the first week of the quarter, students who miss the first meeting of a class due to religious observance may not be dropped from the course roster, provided that they have given advance notice to the instructor of record of the need to miss the class due to a religious holiday.

Students must inform their instructors in writing of their need to observe a religious holiday reasonably well in advance of the absence, preferably at the beginning of the quarter. It is incumbent on the student who misses a class to catch up on any material discussed and assignments given during that class period. As a guide to students and to instructors in planning their courses and assignments, a list of religious holidays where observance may compete with the demands of the academic calendar can be found here. This list is not a designation of religious holidays recognized by the University; it is simply an aid for planning purposes.

Any instructor with concerns regarding either a given holiday or the academic implications of a particular student’s religious observance of holidays may seek guidance from the chair of their department; dean of their school; the Vice Provost for Academic Leadership, Advancement, and Diversity; or the Dean of Rockefeller Chapel. Additional resources include the area Dean of Students and the director of Spiritual Life.

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