The U.S. Census Bureau, in coordination with federal, state and local health officials, will begin to drop off 2020 Census questionnaire packets at front doors of households in Grundy and Marion counties this week. The Census Bureau will deliver 2020 Census invitations and paper questionnaires at the front doors of roughly 5.1 million households nationwide including 4,000 households in Grundy and Marion counties.
This operation is also known as Update Leave and is done in areas where the majority of households do not receive mail at their physical address. The Census Bureau began hand-delivering census materials on March 15, but suspended all fieldwork for this operation on March 18 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
About 5% of households are counted in the Update Leave operation, where census workers will confirm or update a household’s physical location address and then leave a census questionnaire packet. This operation is crucial to ensure a complete and accurate count of all communities, which helps guide hundreds of billions of dollars in public and private sector spending per year.
The health and safety of Census Bureau staff and the public is of the utmost importance. The Update Leave operation does not require interaction between households and a Census Bureau employee and follows the most current federal health and safety guidelines. Temporary field staff have been trained to observe all social distancing protocols and will wear official government-provided personal protective equipment for their safety and the safety of the public.
Staff assigned to Area Census Offices in Knoxville, Shelbyville, Franklin and Memphis will begin returning to the office as necessary to support the Update Leave operation, as well, and we are also resuming fingerprinting for new hires to keep applicants moving through the hiring process. All returning staff will receive safety training to observe social distancing protocols in the COVID-19 environment. For their safety and the safety of the public, the Census Bureau has ordered Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for all field staff, including those that work in a field office. These materials will be secured and provided to staff prior to restarting operations.
People are strongly encouraged to respond promptly to the 2020 Census using the ID number included in the questionnaire packet. Responding with a census ID or the paper questionnaire helps ensure the best count of their community. People can respond online, by phone or by using the paper form in the packet.