Census 2020 officially started last Thursday. Despite growing concerns over the Novel Coronavirus [COVID-19], Newburgh Counts and other Census committees across the nation have no plans to stop working for an accurate Census count. Newburgh Counts held a meeting last Thursday to discuss the Census in Newburgh.
The meeting was held in the Newburgh Heritage Center. In an effort to cater to concerns over COVID-19, the meeting was also broadcasted live over the Zoom meeting app.
The group discussed events and efforts to promote the Census in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak. Like other organizations, the group is considering fully moving events and meetings online. Last Friday, the group held a Census selfie and fill-out event at 2Alices on Broadway.
Residents shared smiles and coffee while they filled out their applications. Michael Mannion was one resident who briefly filled out the online Census form on one of the complimentary Ipads. He found the application simple.
Mannion believes that the COVID-19 outbreak may strain Census efforts but he still believes that this year’s Census will have a higher count.
In the same week, the Newburgh Free Library chose to close its doors temporarily until March 30. This closure comes at the heels of the Newburgh Enlarged City School District announcing their closure. In many ways closing down the library will strain Census efforts in Newburgh. For many in Newburgh, the library is one of the only ways to access the internet.
On Monday, the Governor announced that restaurants and bars can only offer delivery and take-out services. The City of Newburgh declared a state of emergency that has resulted in the closure of major city buildings to the public, like the city’s activity center at 401 Washington Street. These closures have put a halt to activities like Census fill-out events.
Still, Census efforts remain resilient.
“The key message right now for anyone with questions about how COVID-19 will affect the 2020 Census,” wrote the Census Bureau in a statement from March 11. “It has never been easier to respond on your own, whether online, over the phone or by mail—all without having to meet a census taker.”
On Monday, the Census Bureau announced that it will be delaying the start of its mobile questionnaire assistance program. The program was initially scheduled to start on March 30 and will not start on April 13. The delay is an effort to avoid any risk posed by person to person contact.
The early nonresponse followup question has been delayed from April 9 to April 23.
The bureau also announced that it will adjust operations to make sure college students are counted. College students will be counted through the bureau’s Group Quarters Operation. This operation counts all students in college owned housing. Students will also still be counted from schools with closures due to COVID-19 like, Mount St. Mary College.
Residents can still access the Census online at home. In addition, Census forms have already been mailed out. Residents can also call 1-800-923-8282 to fill out their Census.