Recognizing that the Census Bureau “has emergency and disaster-related contingency plans for the decennial operation,” the Congressional Hispanic Caucus recently wrote to Dr. Steven Dillingham, director of the Census Bureau, that the COVID-19 crisis “requires a recalibration of the Bureau’s major operations including Update Leave, Update Enumerate, Mobile Questionnaire Assistance, Group Quarters Enumeration, and Non-Response Follow Up.” The caucus further commended the Census Bureau “for prioritizing the health and safety above all in its most recent decision to extend the suspension of in-field operations until at least April 15, 2020.”
However, the letter urged the Census Bureau to share updates with Members of Congress on a whole range of specific concerns relating to employee safety, hiring, training, operations in hard-to-count communities, community partners, the communications plan, the timeline for the census, and census funding.
On funding, the caucus letter specifically asked: “To date, has the Bureau started using its contingency funds? If so, where are these contingency funds being allocated? What portion, if any, has gone directly to equipment to ensure the health and safety of Census Bureau employees? As we continue to amplify the ability to self-respond, can or has the Bureau used contingency funding to set up a system that would allow operators to take calls over the internet from any remote locations in light of health concerns?”
Read the full April 3 Congressional Hispanic Caucus letter.