Morning Briefing Feb. 4, 2021: More snow on the way to Michigan, debate over extending Michigan’s school year, Hearing today on high school winter sports ban, more

Here are this morning’s top stories

Here is the weather forecast for Metro Detroit.

Winter weather advisory with 2-4 inches of snow expected

We’ll start today with a weather alert from Meteorologist Paul Gross:

We’ve been telling you all week to get ready for this, and today is the last day to get some errands done if you don’t like being out in bitterly cold weather. Here’s a rundown of what’s coming our way:

Most of the daylight hours should be dry. Some snow will perhaps approach southern Lenawee and Monroe Counties late in the afternoon but, again, the daytime should be mostly dry.

The bulk of the snow will fall between 7 p.m. and 1 a.m., and it now appears that we’ll see less of a changeover to rain or a mix -- best chance of seeing this is south of Detroit and east of US-23. As such, most of the moisture available for this storm to produce will fall as snow, and I now expect a general two-to-four inches of snow across southeast Michigan, with it falling at a pretty solid clip this evening.

Read more of the detailed forecast here.

Extending Michigan’s school year? It could happen, teacher representatives say

State superintendent Dr. Michael Rice called on the state Legislature to extend the school year Tuesday for students to make up for the lost time.

The idea comes with several challenges, including getting teachers on board.

“This school year, in and of itself, can’t even last five minutes longer,” said Paula Herbart, the president of the Michigan Education Association. “We need a break. Educators need a break. Students need a break.”

It’s undeniable that the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years have exhausted teachers.

There’s a mammoth hill to climb in order to find a way to get students back 181 days of in-person education and caught up in a way that they can advance with core competencies.

Read more here.

Hearing today on Michigan high school winter sports ban

The battle over whether high school winter sports should resume amid the coronavirus pandemic continues in Michigan.

There are two different things happening:

First, another hearing where parents, coaches and athletes will plead their case. Second, the “Let Them Play” coalition say there is something we haven’t talked about happening.

A week ago, students, coaches and athletes testified in a committee hearing on how no sports is effecting them mentally. The coalition has a lawsuit against the Michigan Department of Health and Human Resources (MDHHS). They were protesting last weekend and they will be back for another hearing with the same message.

Here’s the full story.

Biden flexible on who gets aid, tells lawmakers to ‘go big’

AP: President Joe Biden encouraged Democratic lawmakers Wednesday to “act fast” on his $1.9 trillion COVID rescue plan but also signaled he’s open to changes, including limiting the proposed $1,400 direct payments to Americans with lower income levels, which could draw Republican support.

Biden told lawmakers in private comments he’s “not married” to an absolute number for the overall package but wants them to “go big” on pandemic relief and “restore the soul of the country.”

“Look, we got a lot of people hurting in our country today,” Biden said on a private call with House Democrats. “We need to act. We need to act fast.”

On the direct payments, Biden said he doesn’t want to budge from the $1,400 promised to Americans. But he said he is willing to “target” the aid, which would mean lowering the income threshold to qualify.

“I’m not going to start my administration by breaking a promise to the American people,” he said.

Read the full story here.

Coronavirus in Michigan 💉

The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Michigan has risen to 563,893 as of Wednesday, including 14,704 deaths, state officials report.

Wednesday’s update includes 1,383 new cases and 32 additional deaths. On Tuesday, the state reported a total of 562,510 cases and 14,672 deaths.

New COVID-19 cases have plateaued and deaths are starting to slow. Testing has been steady with more than 40,000 diagnostic tests reported per day on average, with the 7-day positive rate down to 4.9% as of Tuesday. Hospitalizations continue to decline over the last several weeks.

Michigan’s 7-day moving average for daily cases was 1,422 on Tuesday -- the lowest since October. The 7-day death average was 43 on Tuesday. The state’s fatality rate is 2.6%. The state also reports “active cases,” which were listed at 66,000 on Tuesday -- near the lowest it’s been since November.

Here’s a look at more of the data:

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About the Author:

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.