The U.S. Census Bureau continues to monitor the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and follow the guidance of federal, state and local health authorities. The census bureau is adjusting some operations with two key principles in mind: protecting the health and safety of census staff and the public, and fulfilling statutory requirements to deliver 2020 census counts on schedule.

Per the census bureau’s residential criteria, students living away from home at school should be counted at school in most cases, even if they are temporarily elsewhere due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even if at home when they complete the census, students should be counted where they live and sleep most of the time.

College students living in on-campus housing are counted through their university. During the 2020 census, the bureau contacted administrators of colleges and university student housing to receive input on the enumeration methods that will allow students to participate in the 2020 census.

With multiple ways to respond to the census, the majority of higher learning institutions chose the eResponse methodology. Only about 7% chose paper listings. Both methods provide the census bureau information about each student.

However, about 35% chose the drop off/pick up option to respond, which allows students to self-respond. The census bureau is contacting those schools to ask whether they would like to change that preference in light of emerging situations.

The census bureau plans to offer assistance with responding to the 2020 census.

Currently, the census bureau plans to offer this assistance across the country beginning April 13, delaying from the previous start date of March 30.

The planned completion date for data collection for the 2020 census is July 31, 2020. That date can be adjusted by the census bureau as the situation dictates in order to achieve a complete and accurate count.