Community groups prepared to shift census outreach as needed amid COVID-19 outbreak

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Thursday, March 12, 2020
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The census is now available online, although many events and outreach has been canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

For the first time in U.S. Census history, people can fill out a form online. It's a simple process that U.S. Census Bureau Regional Director Marilyn Sanders says can be done despite concerns over COVID-19.

"What is important to note is the census is online and it gives everyone the opportunity to respond to the census wherever they are," Sanders said.

For months, community groups have been reaching out to make sure immigrant groups know about the importance of participating in the census. Asian Americans Advancing Justice is worried COVID-19 will hamper their outreach efforts, especially since so many events are being canceled.

"There has also been a rise of anti-Asian racism that is extremely wide spread. We are hearing about people facing anything from just dirty looks to physical attacks in public," said Mansi Kathuria with the Asian Americans Advancing Justice.

While none of their workers have faced problems, Asian Americans Advancing Justice is planning ahead in case there is a quarantine and outreach is no longer face-to-face.

"We have phone banking, we have texting, we have social media at our disposal the work isn't going to stop, it will shift as needed," Kathuria said.

All U.S. residents have until July 31 to fill out a census form online or over the phone.

If COVID-19 has an impact on the census deadlines, Kathuria said that they will be prepared.

"We have the ability to review our plans and adjust those plans as needed."