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 email@example.com, or call him at 517-657-3501.
Coronavirus standards set by the CDC, WHO and Harvard point to most Michigan counties being safe for class. But a lack of specific state benchmarks means individual districts are left to wing it on their own.
The state health department declined to say which K-12 schools or colleges had confirmed outbreaks, noting that it has not done so for many businesses. One education leader said parents will likely want to know.
August 18, 2020 | Ron French
With Notre Dame and the University of North Carolina facing COVID outbreaks after classes started on their campuses, MSU is switching to remote learning before students return to East Lansing.
August 7, 2020 | Ron French
School closures in other states have Michigan education leaders preparing for what they say are inevitable closures and quarantines this fall.
August 6, 2020 | Ron French
Michigan schools are creating reopening plans for the fall during the coronavirus pandemic with little guidance from the state about what is required, and how they’ll be funded.
August 4, 2020 | Ron French
Will 18-year-olds eager for a college experience opt to stay home to be safe? Michigan State University is about to find out.
August 4, 2020 | Ron French
Despite planned safety protocols in schools, half of residents surveyed aren’t sold on the notion of returning children to classroom settings in the midst of a global pandemic. Thirty-six percent said schools would be safe, a drop since earlier polling.
August 3, 2020 | Ron French
MSU said in May it would reopen its campus in the fall. But rising coronavirus cases have led university officials to encourage students to take their classes online from their homes.
July 30, 2020 | Ron French
Some schools say classrooms aren’t safe, and others are hanging up the welcome sign (albeit with plenty of face masks). It’s confusing even for epidemiologists.
July 28, 2020 | Ron French
Michigan schools are likely to get less money in the coming state budget due to the economic crisis caused by coronavirus. One group urges lawmakers to make those cuts with a scalpel rather than an ax.
July 27, 2020 | Ron French
Grand Rapids joins Ann Arbor, Lansing and other large districts in planning to begin this fall with remote learning in all grades. A Republican bill, if passed, would threaten those districts with loss of state funds.
July 17, 2020 | Ron French
Students in Lansing will start the school year online. Will other Michigan school districts do the same? Most districts expect to make their plans public in the coming weeks.
July 15, 2020 | Ron French
Detroit’s public university will welcome students back for the fall, but it will be anything but a normal semester.
July 14, 2020 | Ron French
Students may wear face masks and may eat lunch at their desks, but the majority of Michigan schools that have announced plans for the fall are planning to offer families the option of full-time, face-to-face instruction.
Tensions are boiling over as confrontations increase over Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's mask rule designed to contain COVID-19 becomes “the number one anxiety-producing pain point for retailers right now.”
With coronavirus cases rising, Michigan’s governor toughened state face mask requirements. Starting Monday, expect to be refused entry to stores and restaurants if you’re not covered. Customers face fines, stores face closure for ignoring.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer warned Michigan families Thursday: If you want kids back in school in September, wear face masks today. She also hinted at stronger enforcement actions in the coming days.
Michigan vaccinations in May were down 46 percent, raising health concerns about the flu and other illnesses. More troubling: rates for children 9 to 18 were down 66 percent, casting doubt on whether they will be allowed to enroll in school in the fall.
July 7, 2020 | Ron French
Michigan’s attorney general joined AGs in several states in suing U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos over CARES Act dollars going to private schools. A DeVos spokesperson said the funding is intended for all students.
July 6, 2020 | Ron French
Desks won’t be six feet apart at your child’s elementary school in September, even if that’s the rule in restaurants. School officials say bringing students back full time would make social distancing nearly impossible.