It’s Wednesday, August 25th - and NBC 6 has the top stories for the day.
No. 1 - The School Board of Broward County is standing its ground against the demand from the State Board of Education that it changes its mandatory mask policy to include a broad opt out clause for parents.
In its response to the Board of Education, Broward County Public Schools argues that locally elected school boards are empowered by the state constitution to make health and safety policies for their schools, and require everyone to wear a mask and follow the best expert guidance to prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, there are some who refuse to follow the mandate. Click here for the latest from those on both sides of the issue in a story from NBC 6 reporter Ari Odzer.
No. 2 - As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations surge in Florida and the battle between Gov. Ron DeSantis and school districts across the state intensifies over mask mandates, Quinnipiac University's latest poll finds that concerns over the virus were palpable among those surveyed and a majority believe the surge was preventable.
Quinnipiac surveyed 997 adults in Florida from August 17-21 with a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points. The poll results, released Tuesday, show 60% of those surveyed support requiring students, teachers and staff to wear masks in schools, while 36% oppose it. The poll also shows 63% of adults believe mask-wearing is primarily about the concern of public health, while 33% believe it's an issue about personal freedom.
No. 3 - Disney Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean have added a COVID-19 vaccination requirement for its passengers who want to board a ship.
For sailings to the Bahamas from Sep. 3 until Nov. 1, all passengers 12 and older must be fully vaccinated before boarding a cruise, Disney Cruise Lines said in an updated policy on its website. Guests must provide proof of vaccination to the cruise line or else they will not be permitted to board. Royal Caribbean also updated its policy Tuesday. For cruises departing from certain locations including Seattle and the Bahamas, passengers ages 12 and older must present proof of vaccination, with the final dose of their vaccine administered at least 14 days before sailing.
No. 4 - Larry Scirotto, the new police chief for Fort Lauderdale, said he is all about transparency and building relations with communities.
When that happens, he said police can do a much better job protecting the neighborhoods they serve. Scirotto raised his right hand and became Ft. Lauderdale’s newest police chief Tuesday afternoon. He is now in charge of more than 500 officers and almost 200 civilian-serving residents. Scirotto says he is here to make a difference. He had a two-decade career in Pittsburgh where he rose to be the assistant chief. Click here to hear his plans for the city in a story from NBC 6 investigator Willard Shepard.
No. 5 - It was the most agonizing moment for Nicole Jackson when her 3-year-old daughter did not come home on the first day of school, she said.
Jackson and her partner Omowale Browne sent their 3-year-old child, who is on the autistic spectrum, to William J. Bryan Elementary on the school bus, but they never imagined she would be dropped off at a stranger's home at the the wrong address. The parents say it took about two hours for school officials to find their little girl after they insisting she had been dropped off at home. Click here for the story from NBC 6 reporter Claudia Docampo.
No. 6 - NBC 6 Responds has heard from dozens of people locked out of the state’s online unemployment portal, CONNECT.
It’s a recurring issue for people trying to claim their unemployment benefits. We first told you about this issue more than a year ago. Since then, the state’s unemployment agency hired a third-party vendor to help verify the identities of people with locked accounts. The DEO launched a new tool called “DEO Verify” after it was hit with a data breach. The tool prompts users to enter personal information along with showing proof of a valid driver’s license or identification card. Click here to see how it works in a report from NBC 6 consumer investigator Sasha Jones.