Normally the first day of April is devoted to good humoured pranks on friends and family. But, one person may have taken things too far this year, as false information on the school year for the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) sent some students and their families into panic mode.
On April 1, a fake Instagram account was created alleging to belong to the WRDSB, with falsified information about the school year being posted.
At the same time, fake tweets were created stating that the school year would be extended throughout the summer months with longer hours to accommodate the closure of schools due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). Tweets also stated that there was an “increasing spread of COVID-19 amongst Ontario teachers and staff members.”
The WRDSB acted quickly to gain access to the fake account and remove all falsified information and ensure students and families knew the information was not legitimate.
Lynsey Slupeiks, communications officer with the WRDSB, says they’re working to find out who created and distributed the false information, stressing such actions are unacceptable, especially during the current crisis.
“It is an uncertain time and you don’t know (what’s going to happen), you see something come out that you think is from a trusted source … and also this information that came out was completely opposite of what we have been saying and sharing,” said Slupeiks.
She added it’s unfortunate this happened during a time when COVID-19 has so many things in flux. The added strain being put on students was not helped by such a stunt, which she says was not very funny.
I hope they know it’s not funny and sharing fake information at a time like this has consequences and it’s not helpful, she said.
Accurate information will continue to be provided through the WRDSB website and questions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.