The wearing of synthetic hijabs in labs is a growing concern in my dept and we want to be sure to address the issue in a culturally sensitive manner. However, none of us is Muslim and so we are seeking input. We ask students not to wear synthetic clothing to lab. Some still do and we don't really have a means to monitor and aren't very concerned because we require a lab coat with at least 35% cotton that happens to cover the clothing in case of a spill or fire. But, the lab coat does not cover any head covering.
We recently had a fire in our organic lab and had a student who should have been right near the fire who was wearing a synthetic hijab that day. She immediately realized how devastating it would have been had she been at her hood when her partner's materials caught fire. And, we all agree.
So, I am looking to others to determine how you address this issue. We don't want to suggest in any way that they don't wear a hijab (they have enough pressures from society in this regard as of late)....just that they wear a cotton one or if there is something available to cover it like the lab coat covers the shirts.
I appreciate any and all input you may have, especially if you are one with experience wearing a hijab in a lab setting.
Laboratory Supervisor/Adjunct Lecturer/Chem Club Co-Advisor
Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
University of Michigan-Flint
Flint, MI 48502
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