One problem that Massachusetts is facing during the coronavirus pandemic is that they have to conduct a census this year but the policy of social isolation has made it quite difficult to knock on every door.
However, Secretary of State William Galvin’s office came up with a solution and urged the communities to use reverse-911 calls to collect data from the residents. The census would be recorded online so the workers would not have to risk their lives to go to every house during the social distancing regulation.
Communities like North Adams, Brockton and Westwood have confirmed that they will follow the procedure as soon as the office gives them the go-ahead, according to Galvin.
Source; National Interest
“Every person who responds to their census now is helping to reduce the need for a census worker to go door-to-door later,” Galvin said in a statement Wednesday.
Questionnaire Assistance Centers (QAC) have been set up in some parts of Massachusetts by nonprofit organizations so minorities who have been ignored in the past can get a chance to register themselves online.
Also, these assistance centers provide help in multiple languages so that people feel comfortable about the information collected and can provide accurate data. The offices have to pause operations right now and will remain closed till May 4th under the order from the governor’s executive council as all nonessential businesses have been shut down.
Joel Rivera, senior campaign organizer at the Massachusetts Immigrant & Refugee Advocacy Coalition, said that nonprofits have already set up the assistance centers and the staff is calling people with low self-response rates.
Source: ABC News
So far QACs offer assistance in 12 languages but Vatsady Sivongxay, a Statewide Complete Count co-ordinator at MIRA stated that the number of languages is still not enough because people speak over 350 different languages all over America. She suggested that people should look at Census Bureau’s Language Guidelines on Youtube that offer additional languages so they can come prepared for the census.
“We are the trusted voices to our community members, and it’s much easier and more comfortable for our community members to hear it from us,” she said.
Usually, census employees begin their work in July by visiting people who fail to respond to the online forms. However, with the current situation we cannot say for sure if that would happen this year because even though census workers come under essential workers as noted by state and federal guidelines, it would be a risk to put them in danger