Morning Briefing Sept. 7, 2021: Metro Detroit schools facing staff shortages as classes resume, Presque Isle Park visitor falls from cliff and dies

Here are this morning’s top stories

A student wearing a mask and face shield eats lunch at Blanco Vista Elementary School in San Marcos on Aug. 23, 2021.
A student wearing a mask and face shield eats lunch at Blanco Vista Elementary School in San Marcos on Aug. 23, 2021.

Metro Detroit schools face support staff shortages as classes begin

Many Metro Detroit schools are kicking off the academic year this week, and operations will look different for many -- and not just because of COVID-related protocols.

Across Metro Detroit and the U.S., schools are facing a massive shortage of support workers like bus drivers, food service workers and custodians.

Some local school districts have adjusted their transportation routes to account for fewer bus drivers, which has also triggered some changes in school start times each day. Other districts, like Melvindale and Allen Park, have suspended some transportation services altogether due to staff shortages.

See the report here.

Visitor at UP park falls from cliff, dies on holiday

Police say that a man visiting Presque Isle Park in Marquette on Monday fell from a cliff and died.

Read more here.

🚨 25-year-old Novi man found dead inside car on I-96 in Detroit, police say

Motive for Florida family’s massacre may never be known

Investigators say that when they captured Marine veteran Bryan Riley outside the Lakeland, Florida, home where he allegedly killed a couple, their 3-month-old son and the boy’s grandmother, he told them, “You know why I did this.”

But they say they don’t and, in fact, may never know why Riley launched an attack against a family he had no known connection with, except that he may have been mentally ill. Riley’s girlfriend told investigators that he had been saying he could communicate directly with God.

“The big question that all of us has is, ‘Why?’” local prosecutor Brian Haas said after Sunday’s slayings. “We will not know today or maybe ever.”

Read the report here.

Expiration of $300 weekly unemployment boost impacts nearly half a million Michigan residents

The expiration of the $300 weekly unemployment benefit boost impacts nearly 9 million people across the country.

It’s a big change for many who are collecting state and federal unemployment benefits amid the ongoing pandemic. The expiration impacts a total of 450,000 Michigan residents.

Learn more here.

📸 Share: Back-to-school photos!

Crews going door-to-door in Flat Rock urging evacuations after chemical spill

On Monday, teams went door-to-door in areas where experts recommended Flat Rock residents evacuate due to a gas leak.

The state is still monitoring the hazardous fumes caused by the gas leak at Ford’s Flat Rock assembly plant.

Read more here.

🖊 9/11 attacks, 20 years later: Where were you? Share your story

Weather: Good chance for severe storms today 🌧

Here is the weather forecast for Metro Detroit.
Here is the weather forecast for Metro Detroit.

COVID in Michigan 🦠

Michigan reported 4,448 new cases of COVID-19 and 51 virus-related deaths Friday -- an average of 2,224 cases over a two-day period.

Of the 51 deaths announced Friday, 28 were identified during a review of records.

Friday’s update brings the total number of confirmed COVID cases in Michigan to 955,640, including 20,367 deaths. These numbers are up from 951,192 cases and 20,347 deaths, as of Wednesday.

Note: The state of Michigan reported 20,347 deaths on Wednesday, but when Friday’s update was posted, Wednesday’s number was decreased to 20,316. Therefore, the state announced Friday’s total of 20,367 deaths as an increase of 51, not 20.

Also note: The state did not provide a COVID data update on Monday due to the holiday. The next update is expected Wednesday afternoon.

Testing has increased to around 20,000 diagnostic tests reported per day on average, with the 7-day positive rate at 9.89% as of Friday, slightly higher than the previous week. The positive test rate has been steadily climbing since the end of June, when it was at its lowest. Hospitalizations have increased by 231% since July 1.

Cases are rising again in Michigan. The state’s 7-day moving average for daily cases was 1,995 on Friday -- a significant jump since the beginning of July. The 7-day death average was 25 on Friday. The state’s fatality rate is 2.1%. The state also reports “active cases,” which were listed at 54,000 on Friday.

Here’s a look at more of the data:

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