Olmsted County’s Complete Count Committee recently canceled some census outreach plans, but the count continues.

“We are urging people to complete the form online and to do it as soon as possible to avoid multiple mailings by the Census Bureau,” said Brittney Marschall, who has been helping coordinate local community efforts during the past year.

Census letters started appearing in mailboxes this month.

Here are some things to know about the 2020 Census and its response to COVID-19:

1. The U.S. Census Bureau stopped field operations.

With the goal of helping slow the spread of coronavirus, the federal agency has suspended field operations until April 1.

The Census Bureau will continue to evaluate all 2020 Census operations during the rest of March.

2. The response deadline has been extended.

The census completion date has been extended from July 31 to Aug. 14.

The Census Bureau is offering several ways for people to respond, including by mail and online at www.my2020census.gov, without being in contact with a census taker.

While the deadline for response has been extended, delays in completing the process are likely to fuel additional mailings, phone calls and, eventually, in-person visits.

3. In-person follow-ups are being postponed.

Census workers planto start making in-person visits beginning April 9 in college areas only. Other in-person visits will be delayed until late May.

When possible, bureau personnel will use phone calls instead of in-person visits.

4. College counts include students.

College students living in on-campus housing are counted through their university as part of our Group Quarters Operation.

Students in colleges and universities temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 virus will still be counted through the process, even if they are home on April 1, which is the official day of the count.

5. More than 18 million households have already responded.

The Census Bureau reported Friday that 16.7 percent of households have responded to the 2020 Census since information started showing in mailboxes on March 12.

Minnesota’s response rate is reportedly 20.2 percent, with more than 90 percent of the questionnaires being submitted online.

6. Homeless count plans might change.

The Census Bureau’s plan calls for interviewing people facing homeless as they are being served a meal or staying at provided facilities on March 30 and April 1.

The bureau in contacting service providers to determine whether they will be open on those days and whether they would be able to provide census data on paper for each person served.

7. Other surveys will shift to phone calls.

In addition to the official nationwide count every 10 years, the Census Bureau conducts regular household and economic surveys.

Bureau personnel are now using phone calls instead of in-person visits to gather the information in those reports.

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