A letter circulating on social media and claiming that Missouri students won't be allowed to move to the next grade level for the 2020-21 academic year is a fake, officials with the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education said.

The letter, which is available for viewing at facebook.com/MOEducation, wrongly claims that virus-related school closures and canceled exams will mean that students won't graduate from one grade to the next. It uses the DESE logo and is signed by a "Candice B. Fureal."

"We could not be more disappointed that someone chose to use their free time to create this document, illegally using our department logo, and make a joke about something as serious as our students' education," education officials said in a statement on social media. "This is particularly insensitive given the anxiety and uncertainty so many students and families are dealing with right now."