As of early March, efforts to encourage participation in the U.S. Census Bureau‘s 2020 headcount seemed to be moving ahead smoothly.
Janet Jarnagin, a community school coordinator at Ogden’s James Madison Elementary for United Way of Northern Utah, said she and others had started encouraging participation among parents at the school. An ice cream social, among other activities, was planned to help those who needed help filling out the online census form.
But with the coronavirus outbreak and guidance to avoid person-to-person contact to prevent its spread, all that planning “went out the door,” Jarnagin said. Now she worries about the possible upshot — an undercount of the local population and a corresponding dip in federal funding coming this way.
“It’s not worked out like we hoped and our population is one that needs to be counted,” Jarnagin said.
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