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Jay Dortzbach, KSL TV file

Utah students do not have to repeat their current grade next year — that screenshot is fake

By Jacob Klopfenstein, KSL.com | Updated - Apr. 1, 2020 at 2:17 p.m. | Posted - Apr. 1, 2020 at 1:01 p.m.



SALT LAKE CITY — A screenshot of a fake news story, that claimed Utah Gov. Gary Herbert would have students repeat their current grade next year, made the rounds Wednesday.

The screenshot, which makes the article look as if it ran on KSL.com, is false and appears to have been doctored. The story never appeared on KSL.com. It is unclear who created the original image.

Tami Pyfer, Herbert’s education adviser, confirmed on Twitter that the information in the screenshot is not true. It’s possible the screenshot was created as an April Fool’s Day joke.

“Now is not the time for irresponsible April Fools' Day jokes,” Herbert wrote on Twitter in response to the screenshot. “I am tremendously grateful to our teachers for their tireless efforts to continue educating Utah students — and I'm impressed by the dedication of our students who are learning from home.”

The screenshot circulated, leading to some concern among students in Utah. At a Wednesday press conference, Herbert said his office has been inundated with calls about the issue. If a student needs to repeat their current grade next year, it will have nothing to do with the governor's office, Herbert clarified.

Granite School District also shared the screenshot as a joke Wednesday morning, along with "#AprilFoolsDay" in a now-deleted tweet. The district clarified in a follow-up tweet Wednesday that the screenshot is fake.

If you’re unsure of the validity of a story you’ve seen screenshot on social media, check KSL.com directly to see if the headline appears on the KSL website. You can also check other news outlets to see if they are reporting the same information.

If you’ve seen a screenshot of a news story that includes a quote from a prominent public official, such as Herbert, you can check that official’s website or social media accounts to see if they’ve sent out the information directly.

Several Utah school districts also are dealing with the spread of misinformation Wednesday.

A letter dated March 31 that was purportedly sent out from the Davis School District was fake, district officials said on Twitter. No such letter was sent out.

Students, parents and staff in Davis School District are advised to enjoy the rest of their spring break. School will resume, virtually, on Monday, the district said.

A fake letter made to look like it originated from the Tooele County School District and discussing a "Pandemic Cancellation Closure" also was circulated, the district said.

"This fake letter has actually created additional work to correct misinformation for people who have been diligently working through this pandemic," the district said in a Facebook post.

Any new information will be sent out via the district's official channels, the district said. If information isn't on Tooele County School District's website or social media accounts, and if you didn't get an email or call about it, it's likely untrue, the district said.

Jacob Klopfenstein

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