SLSV Coalition Census/COVID-19 Update

Posted by Students Learn Students Vote on March 17, 2020

The mailers have been sent and is up and running as of Thursday, March 12th! The 2020 Census is under way across the country!

With the onset of COVID-19, there are many questions. This weekend the US Census Bureau released information regarding where students should be counted in light of the recent COVID-19 campus closures. The Census Bureau is preceding as if students are still at their campus (either on- or off-campus) residences, NOT at whatever residence they’ve relocated to because of these closures. The reason for this is that under normal circumstances, their campus community is where they would be living and sleeping most of the time. This Thursday, March 19th from 3:00 – 4:00 PM EST on our monthly, SLSV Census Working Group call, we will get updates directly from the Census Bureau and discuss this information in more detail. You can register for that call-in information here. Until then, here are some recommendations:

On-campus students: 
On-campus housing should continue to work with their Census Bureau contacts for group quarters enumeration. If you did not originally select the electronic records option (which is FERPA compliant) we recommend your campus liaison follow-up immediately with your Census Bureau contact and adjust your selection to the electronic records method. 

Off-campus students:
Use digital communications to remind any of your students who lived off-campus and have also left the area that they should still be completing the Census for that local, off-campus address. Even if they do not have their address specific Census ID, they can still complete the Census by selecting the “If you do not have a Census ID, click here” link on the Address Verification/Log In screen (pdf attached highlighting that option).

Outreach efforts: 

If you haven’t yet, start thinking through a digital Census outreach effort, as we prepare for the likelihood that in-person events on campuses for Census Day, April 1st and beyond will be canceled. Consider ideas like: Social media pushes. Emails from your president or student leaders. Creating a message that could be shared to all faculty (with the link) and then posted in the digital classrooms. The messaging to stress though is: 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. We will use some of our meeting time on Thursday to share out ideas.

How to complete the census online without your ID:

Census jobs:
The Census is still accepting applications at for enumerators with a tentative start in May. If students no longer have campus or work-study jobs and are also low-risk, this is an opportunity available to them and something they can do in the community they’re currently in.
We all know how critically important the Census and an accurate count are for our democracy. I appreciate the work so many of you have done to support Census efforts on your campuses thus far and your continued commitment to getting out the count under this new context. As we move forward, please know that we are here to support you and the incredible work you’re doing. We’re in this together.

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