Ron French

Project Editor/Senior Writer Ron French joined Bridge in 2011 after having won more than 40 national and state journalism awards since he joined The Detroit News in 1995. French has a long track record of uncovering emerging issues and changing the public policy debate through his work. In 2006, he foretold the coming crisis in the auto industry in a special report detailing how worker health-care costs threatened to bankrupt General Motors. In 2007, French uncovered Michigan’s educator pension and health-care costs that are now at the center of policy debate in Lansing. He is also the author of “Driven Abroad,” a book chronicling the movement of Michigan jobs overseas. You can reach Ron via email at rfrench@bridgemi.com, or call him at 517-657-3501.

Articles

COVID triples in Michigan K-12 schools, rises 60% at colleges in a week

COVID triples in Michigan K-12 schools, rises 60% at colleges in a week

September 21, 2020 | Ron French

There is a surge in cases in K-12 schools and on college campuses, but, so far, there’s no sign of increased hospitalizations.

Grand Valley State students ordered to stay home to tamp down COVID-19 upswing

Grand Valley State students ordered to stay home to tamp down COVID-19 upswing

September 16, 2020 | Robin Erb, Ron French

COVID is spreading at Grand Valley through off-campus gatherings and students who become infected aren’t saying who they’ve been hanging out with, health officials said.

Coronavirus outbreaks force mandatory quarantine at 23 MSU frats, sororities

Coronavirus outbreaks force mandatory quarantine at 23 MSU frats, sororities

September 14, 2020 | Ron French, Robin Erb

Saying an upswing in COVID cases is “quickly becoming a crisis,” Ingham County health officer orders lockdown on 30 frats, sororities and other big homes. The mandatory order comes after the health department recommended voluntary quarantines for some 38K students.

How a few coronavirus cases ended classes at a rural Michigan school

How a few coronavirus cases ended classes at a rural Michigan school

September 14, 2020 | Ron French

For every student that tested positive, there were dozens of friends or classmates found to be in close contact with them, sidelining them from the classroom as well.

State identifies Michigan K-12 schools and colleges with COVID outbreaks

State identifies Michigan K-12 schools and colleges with COVID outbreaks

September 14, 2020 | Ron French, Mike Wilkinson

The public can now see what K-12 schools and colleges in the state have coronavirus outbreaks, thanks to new state reporting championed by Bridge Michigan and other media outlets. There are now more than 1,300 college cases.

Officials urge 38,000 MSU students to quarantine 14 days after COVID spike

Officials urge 38,000 MSU students to quarantine 14 days after COVID spike

September 12, 2020 | Ron French

Ingham County says 342 people linked to MSU tested positive for COVID. County health officials say off-campus parties contribute to the rise and warn that its recommendation will become an order if case increases continue. 

Whitmer thanks Michigan COVID essential workers with free community college

Whitmer thanks Michigan COVID essential workers with free community college

September 10, 2020 | Riley Beggin, Paula Gardner, Ron French

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer set aside $24 million in federal CARES Act funds to allow people required to work through the height of the coronavirus crisis to receive a free associate’s degree at a local community college.

Michigan colleges pass 1,000 COVID cases. Apparently, students like to party.

Michigan colleges pass 1,000 COVID cases. Apparently, students like to party.

September 8, 2020 | Ron French, Robin Erb, Mike Wilkinson

Strict health protocols on campuses aren’t stopping the spread of coronavirus. With cases rising fast, some experts fear more a wave of deaths, but others say aggressive testing and quarantining could prevent the worst from happening.

Whitmer’s ‘real-time’ school coronavirus outbreak data could be a week old

Whitmer’s ‘real-time’ school coronavirus outbreak data could be a week old

September 8, 2020 | Ron French, Robin Erb

Michigan will begin listing schools with outbreaks Monday, but disclosure is bogged down by testing delays and reporting lag times. Some fear the information will be so dated, it could be of little use to parents.

Betsy DeVos: Michigan can expect standardized tests, despite COVID-19

Betsy DeVos: Michigan can expect standardized tests, despite COVID-19

September 3, 2020 | Ron French

Michigan school leaders asked for a waiver from federal requirements for such tests because of the pandemic. DeVos said no, arguing that the pandemic makes it even more critical to measure and compare school performance.

Quesadillas, Netflix and silence in Central Michigan’s ‘COVID dorm’

Quesadillas, Netflix and silence in Central Michigan’s ‘COVID dorm’

September 2, 2020 | Robin Erb, Ron French

The hallways are deadly quiet. They can hear sounds from other rooms but don’t know who lives there, and can’t visit. Life in CMU’s COVID Dorm is an eerie, monotonous journey for two, now-separated roommates.

From CMU to tiny Adrian, COVID-19 keeps marching through Michigan colleges

From CMU to tiny Adrian, COVID-19 keeps marching through Michigan colleges

September 1, 2020 | Ron French

With coronavirus cases spiking on some campuses, colleges are adjusting to ‘the inevitable.’

Two weeks into classes, Central Michigan University has 178 COVID-19 cases

Two weeks into classes, Central Michigan University has 178 COVID-19 cases

August 31, 2020 | Ron French

The outbreak at the mid-Michigan public university started with off-campus parties. Now, there are cases in dorms, too.

8 new COVID outbreaks in Michigan schools, colleges. State won’t name them

8 new COVID outbreaks in Michigan schools, colleges. State won’t name them

August 31, 2020 | Ron French

There are now 14 new or ongoing coronavirus outbreaks in Michigan K-12 schools and colleges. Where are they? How many cases? The state still won’t provide that information.

Most Michigan students have option: Return to class or learn at home

Most Michigan students have option: Return to class or learn at home

August 28, 2020 | Ron French

About 8 in 10 Michigan K-12 school children can go back to school buildings this fall if they want; the majority also have the option of continuing to learn from home during the pandemic.

COVID-19 at your Michigan school? Odds are, nobody is required to tell you.

COVID-19 at your Michigan school? Odds are, nobody is required to tell you.

August 26, 2020 | Robin Erb, Mike Wilkinson, Ron French

The governor’s office and state health officials have yet to identify schools with active coronavirus outbreaks. And under current state policy, there is no requirement of a public announcement.

Health emergency declared as COVID spreads at Central Michigan University

Health emergency declared as COVID spreads at Central Michigan University

August 24, 2020 | Ron French

The COVID outbreak at CMU shows no signs of slowing, with the case count now at 54 among current students and 75 when counting others who were infected primarily at student gatherings.

Fear of COVID outbreaks forces Eastern Michigan University online — for now

Fear of COVID outbreaks forces Eastern Michigan University online — for now

August 24, 2020 | Ron French

Classes are moving online and dorms will remain shuttered for the first three weeks of school at EMU, while officials figure out how to adjust their reopening plans in light of coronavirus outbreaks at other colleges, including Central Michigan University.

Swabs, sewage and campus bubbles: Can COVID testing keep colleges open?

Swabs, sewage and campus bubbles: Can COVID testing keep colleges open?

August 24, 2020 | Robin Erb, Ron French

With guesswork built into coronavirus testing at Michigan colleges and universities, campus leaders hope to keep students and staff safe. Nobody, it seems, knows if their plans are likely to work. 

Central Michigan started class Monday. By Friday: 38 coronavirus cases

Central Michigan started class Monday. By Friday: 38 coronavirus cases

August 21, 2020 | Ron French, Robin Erb

Michigan has already reported 14 school-related COVID-19 outbreaks. CMU’s appears to be another.

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