It’s Thursday, May 21st - and NBC 6 has the top stories you need to know for the day.
No. 1 – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis gave a fiery response to questions on the firing of a Department of Health employee Wednesday, claiming the former state employee “should have been dismissed long before.”
Questions about the integrity of the state's public health data were raised when Rebekah Jones, an information systems manager with the Florida Department of Health, announced in an email to researchers Friday that she was reassigned from her duties overseeing an online dashboard that provides daily snapshots of Florida's COVID-19 infections, testing and deaths. DeSantis made no mention of the email during his response on Wednesday, but instead gave a laundry list of reasons as to why Jones should not be trusted, including ongoing legal battles.
No. 2 - Public schools in South Florida have been locked up for nine weeks, so everyone, including the superintendents of the Miami-Dade and Broward County school districts, wants to know if kids will be physically back in classrooms when the new school year begins in August.
Each superintendent used the word “flexible” when speaking with NBC 6 because they can’t forecast exactly what the school year, or even the first day of school, will look like. They say it’s likely to be a combination of distance learning and classroom instruction, and possibly separate shifts to reduce crowding. Click here for more on the story from NBC 6 education reporter Ari Odzer.
No. 3 - The city of Miramar took the plan to furlough its full-time employees off the table Wednesday as dozens gathered outside city hall to protest.
It's a switch from exactly one week ago, when City Manager Vernon Hargray laid out the plan for each worker to take one furlough day per week, beginning June 11 and continuing through Dec. 9. Hargray wrote that the furloughs, which translate to one eight-hour shift taken off for each 40-hour week, are necessary to “protect the financial stability" of the city.
No. 4 - Andrew Olis has been unable to work since mid-March. Like millions of others, Andrew said the pandemic impacted his work as an independent contractor with a construction company.
The former operations manager said he had to turn to filing for unemployment benefits. On Wednesday, more than two months later, Andrew said he was still waiting for help. Click here to hear more in a report from NBC 6 Responds reporter Alina Machado.
No. 5 - A Hialeah family who lost everything in a house fire has cause to celebrate.
When the Ferrer family contacted NBC 6 Responds a little over a year ago, our team tried to get them assistance through a Hialeah program, but that city said they didn’t qualify. Not knowing what else could be done, NBC 6 shared their story with our viewers and a flood of kind-hearted people came out to make a difference. Click here for more on this heartwarming story from NBC 6 Responds reporter Myriam Masihy.
No. 6 - Weatherwise, afternoon storms stick around Thursday across the inland parts of South Florida with breezy weather along the coast. Keep your NBC 6 app handy for push alerts on any severe weather as well as First Alert Doppler 6000.