3/13/20 – Message to 2020 Census Regional Intermediaries from IDHS Census Office

Friday, March 13th, 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance for RI Census Work

Dear Census Regional Intermediaries:

Your health, public safety, and the well-being of our communities are critically important to the Illinois Department of Human Services. As the COVID-19 (the 2019 novel Coronavirus) situation evolves, we are continuing to adapt and adjust to ensure safety and security, as operations continue. IDHS understands that RIs' work plans and performance will be impacted by the Coronavirus. We respect that you know your community best and can determine the most appropriate modifications to your Census work plan. It's always good to ensure you have a backup plan when it comes to outreach so that you can quickly shift tactics and still support achieving a complete count.

Please share your ideas on alternative approaches to conducting community education, direct engagement, and questionnaire assistance, with IDHS and your RI peers. Send your ideas to Mary.Hebert@illinois.gov.

Given the evolving public health circumstances, IDHS offers the following guidance:

  • There will be an opportunity for RIs to submit revised work plans in the near future with the additional, Phase II funding opportunity.
  • IDHS recommends that RIs follow directives provided by state and local authorities (e.g. Governor Pritzker, the Illinois Department of Public Health, and local health departments) on convening community meetings or one-on-one outreach efforts with residents, especially those who are considered high risk for the Coronavirus. When in doubt, use extra caution and consider alternatives to in-person meetings or outreach. Regardless, everyone should maintain proper hand hygiene and should stay home and not be participating in any in-person meetings or outreach if they are sick.
  • Consider the following strategies:
    • Phone banking, texting, and virtual assistance and outreach.
    • Outreach via social media and creating a strong online presence.
    • Ensure there are flyers, palm cards, and materials at grocery stores, community centers, clinics, and other essential locations.
    • Drop off literature with information on how to self-respond so that people are still hearing about the Census.
    • Promote 987987, so that residents can get answers to their Census questions and take a pledge to be reminded to complete the Census form.
    • Highlight the fact that people can complete the Census from the comfort of each person's home: online, by phone, or by returning the paper questionnaire. You can complete the Census now at www.my2020census.gov. Households have begun receiving mailed invitations to participate in the 2020 Census.

For additional information, please review the following:

In partnership and solidarity,

IDHS Census Office