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

Whitmer closes Michigan classrooms for school year due to coronavirus

Whitmer closes Michigan classrooms for school year due to coronavirus

April 2, 2020 | Ron French

It wasn’t a decision anyone wanted to make, but Gov. Gretchen Whitmer shut the state’s school buildings for the remainder of the school year. School districts will ramp up remote learning for their homebound students.

Whitmer to end Michigan school year; seniors graduate, others move up

Whitmer to end Michigan school year; seniors graduate, others move up

March 30, 2020 | Ron French

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is expected to close schools for the year, graduate seniors, move other students up a grade, waive the third-grade reading law and ensure teachers and other staff are paid.

In life, he hosted Detroit’s grand funerals. COVID-19 makes his own uncertain

In life, he hosted Detroit’s grand funerals. COVID-19 makes his own uncertain

March 28, 2020 | Mike Wilkinson, Ron French

O’Neil Swanson was the man to call for decades for stately funerals in Detroit. But his own death shows how grieving has changed in the age of the coronavirus.

Michigan scrambles to salvage school year in wake of coronavirus

Michigan scrambles to salvage school year in wake of coronavirus

March 25, 2020 | Ron French

School and legislative leaders are meeting to determine how best to continue education if the coronavirus keeps classrooms closed for months.

Michigan adjusts to strange, empty world of coronavirus lockdown

Michigan adjusts to strange, empty world of coronavirus lockdown

March 24, 2020 | Ron French, Mike Wilkinson, Valerie von Frank, Robin Erb

From empty streets to locked stores, Michigan residents awoke Tuesday morning to a state desperately trying to slow the spread of a potentially deadly virus.

Coronavirus extends Michigan school closures until at least April 14

Coronavirus extends Michigan school closures until at least April 14

March 23, 2020 | Ron French

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Monday order to stay home through midnight April 13 means an extension of at least eight days to the already ordered three-week school closure.

What Michigan’s coronavirus stay-at-home order means for residents

What Michigan’s coronavirus stay-at-home order means for residents

March 23, 2020 | Ron French

You can still take a walk and get a pizza delivered, but Monday’s order means many Michigan residents will be at home the majority of the next three weeks.

Stay at home, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says as coronavirus cases soar

Stay at home, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says as coronavirus cases soar

March 23, 2020 | Jonathan Oosting, Ron French

Residents are to stay at home except for workers in essential service sectors. Such orders in other states make allowances for hospitals, groceries, gas stations, take-out restaurants, pharmacies and the like to stay open.

Will Michigan classes stay closed, and other coronavirus impact on schools

Will Michigan classes stay closed, and other coronavirus impact on schools

March 20, 2020 | Ron French

Parents are flooding Bridge with questions about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Michigan schools. We have some answers.

University of Michigan Hospital has one-day blood supply due to coronavirus

University of Michigan Hospital has one-day blood supply due to coronavirus

March 19, 2020 | Ron French

U-M hospital is one of several across the state in critical need of donated blood for vulnerable patients. The spread of COVID-19 cases has resulted in Red Cross blood drive cancellations.

Michigan schools asked to open emergency child care centers for ‘essential workers’

Michigan schools asked to open emergency child care centers for ‘essential workers’

March 18, 2020 | Ron French

In the latest sign of how bad things could get, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer asks schools to set up emergency child care centers for the children of “essential workers,” from doctors to grocery stockers, needed in the pandemic fight.

Here’s a map of where Michigan kids can get meals during school closure

Here’s a map of where Michigan kids can get meals during school closure

March 18, 2020 | Ron French

The interactive map will be updated twice daily by state officials, to help families find locations to pick up free meals during the statewide school closure

Coronavirus layoffs cascade across Michigan. ‘What will I do?’ workers ask

Coronavirus layoffs cascade across Michigan. ‘What will I do?’ workers ask

March 17, 2020 | Riley Beggin, Ron French

One day after Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer shuts down restaurants and bars, workers fear the worst and wonder what bill to skip. One compares it to Russian roulette. Another stocks up on ramen and braces for long haul. 

Michigan standardized tests may be put on ice this year due to coronavirus

Michigan standardized tests may be put on ice this year due to coronavirus

March 17, 2020 | Ron French

State education leaders have asked for a waiver to allow Michigan schools to ditch federally mandated testing this spring, due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

The sobering reason Michigan day care centers are not yet shut down

The sobering reason Michigan day care centers are not yet shut down

March 16, 2020 | Ron French

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has closed schools, gyms, theaters and bars. Why not child care centers? The reason: So that medical workers and first responders who need to stay on the job have child care.

Coronavirus sends Michigan families scrambling for child care. And more wine.

Coronavirus sends Michigan families scrambling for child care. And more wine.

March 15, 2020 | Ron French

Monday marks the beginning of a three-week school closure in Michigan because of the coronavirus pandemic. The unprecedented crisis has parents searching for nannies, taking kids to work and throwing away rules on screen time.

Questions about Michigan coronavirus school closings? We have (some) answers

Questions about Michigan coronavirus school closings? We have (some) answers

March 15, 2020 | Ron French

Yes, free lunches are available from a lot of Michigan schools even during the break. No, your child won’t fall behind in class work if they don’t have access to high-speed Internet at home. Will the school year be extended? There are no plans — yet.

Coronavirus closed Michigan schools for 3 weeks. CDC says that's not long enough

Coronavirus closed Michigan schools for 3 weeks. CDC says that's not long enough

March 13, 2020 | Ron French

Proactively closing schools might help, but the three weeks that Michigan schools will be shut down may not be long enough to be effective.

Whitmer closes all Michigan schools for three weeks due to coronavirus

Whitmer closes all Michigan schools for three weeks due to coronavirus

March 13, 2020 | Ron French

Faced with a growing health crisis, the Michigan governor ordered all public schools closed beginning Monday

Washtenaw school districts first in Michigan to close due to coronavirus

Washtenaw school districts first in Michigan to close due to coronavirus

March 12, 2020 | Ron French

Seven districts in Washtenaw County are moving to online-only learning beginning Monday, March 16. Districts around the state are wrestling with the pros and cons of closing as Ohio announced it was shutting its public schools.

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