Morning Briefing Sept. 20, 2021: 2 kayakers found near Pictured Rocks identified as Metro Detroiters, Macomb County school goes virtual due to staff shortage

Here are this morning’s top stories

The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. (Photo: Olivia Booth)

Officials: 2 kayakers found near Pictured Rocks identified; both from Metro Detroit

Officials have identified the two kayakers found dead along the coast of Lake Superior near Pictured Rocks in Northern Michigan last week.

The National Park Service said the two kayakers were reported missing on the evening of Sept. 16. The National Park Service, along with other federal and state agencies have responded with search and rescue operations that concluded Friday afternoon with the recovery of both victims’ bodies by the United States Coast Guard along the coast of Lake Superior.

Read the report here.

Macomb County middle school switches to virtual education due to staff shortage

In a letter sent to parents, officials said a number of employees at Eastpointe Middle School have resigned. The school said it has to switch to remote learning to make sure students are taught by a certified educator.

Learn more here.

🌧 Metro Detroit live weather radar and alerts: Tracking potential for heavy rain this week

New district tops 2022 list of Michigan’s best school districts: Check top 25 here

This year, Northville Public Schools took the No. 1 spot for best school district in Michigan, surpassing Novi Community School District, which was No. 1 in both 2021 and 2020.

Niche released their annual list of the best schools in every U.S. state. The rankings are based on “rigorous analysis of key statistics and millions of reviews from students and parents using data from the U.S. Department of Education,” Niche said.

See the list here.

🚧 Metro Detroit road commissions short on staff, hiring with winter approaching

Social media trend has students trash Metro Detroit school property

Some students are destroying and stealing school property in a new social media challenge called “Devious Licks.”

Several school districts across Metro Detroit are warning parents after local schools experienced vandalism. TikTok has banned devious licks, making the hashtag unsearchable as the company works to remove videos.

See the report here.

Pfizer says COVID-19 vaccine works in kids ages 5 to 11

Pfizer said Monday its COVID-19 vaccine works for children ages 5 to 11 and that it will seek U.S. authorization for this age group soon -- a key step toward beginning vaccinations for youngsters.

The vaccine made by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech already is available for anyone 12 and older. But with kids now back in school and the extra-contagious delta variant causing a huge jump in pediatric infections, many parents are anxiously awaiting vaccinations for their younger children.

Read more here.

🏈 Lions vs. Packers on Monday Night Football: What to know

Residents optimistic as Ford Flat Rock Assembly Plant returns to production

It’s been an absolute roller coaster for the many residents living in the city limits of Flat Rock as they’ve been dealing with a benzene chemical leak the past few weeks. But residents like Michael Goudreau believe the Ford Flat Rock Assembly plant returning to production Monday is at least a step in the right direction.

See more here.

Search for Gabby Petito boyfriend continues after body found

Authorities said a body discovered in northern Wyoming was believed to be that of a 22-year-old woman who disappeared while on a cross-country trek with a boyfriend now the subject of an intense search in a Florida nature preserve.

The FBI said the body of Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito was found Sunday by law enforcement agents who spent the weekend searching camp sites on the eastern border of Grand Teton National Park. The cause of death has not yet been determined.

Read the story here.

💳 Money Monday: Building credit history

Weather: Monitoring heavy rain threat ☔️

Here is the weather forecast for Metro Detroit.

COVID in Michigan 🦠

Michigan reported 5,616 new cases of COVID-19 and 68 virus-related deaths Friday -- an average of 2,808 cases over a two-day period.

Of the deaths announced Friday, 36 were identified during a Vital Records review.

Friday’s update brings the total number of confirmed COVID cases in Michigan to 988,725, including 20,665 deaths. These numbers are up from 983,109 cases and 20,597 deaths, as of Wednesday.

Testing has increased to around 20,000 diagnostic tests reported per day on average, with the 7-day positive rate at 9.22% 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 been steadily increasing for several weeks.

Cases are rising again in Michigan. The state’s 7-day moving average for daily cases was 2,616 on Friday -- a significant jump since the beginning of July. The 7-day death average was 24 on Friday. The state’s fatality rate is 2.1%. The state also reports “active cases,” which were listed at 66,300 last Wednesday.

Michigan has reported more than 9.8 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine administered as of Thursday, with 66.7% of 16+ residents having received at least one dose while 58.4% of 16+ residents are considered fully vaccinated.

Here’s a look at more of the data:

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About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.