by D.J. DeJong

Mail Staff Writer

Many residents of Salida, Poncha Springs, Buena Vista and unincorporated Chaffee County will soon get their chance to participate in the U.S. census as the U.S. Census Bureau resumes 2020 census field operations in Colorado this week.

A press release from the Census Bureau stated field employees will begin dropping off 2020 census invitation packets at front doors of households in areas that do not receive mail at their homes.

Originally field operations were postponed to June 13 due to COVID-19 concerns.

“The reason the bureau decided to move forward sooner rather than later is due to the fact that local and state authorities have loosened restrictions tied to COVID-19,” said April Obholz Bergeler, census coordinator for Chaffee County.

For the health and safety of census employees and the public, field staff will observe social distancing protocols and will wear personal protective equipment.

The field operation follows current federal health and safety guidelines and does not require interaction between households and Census Bureau employees, the bureau stated.

Households that receive the 2020 census invitation packets are encouraged to respond promptly, using the census ID included in the questionnaire packet.

Coloradans can respond online, by phone or by completing and returning the paper form by mail.

Responding online with the census ID or completing and returning the paper questionnaire helps ensure an accurate count of Colorado communities.

Later this year, the U.S. Census Bureau plans to send census takers to visit Colorado households that have not responded to the 2020 census to help them complete questionnaires.

As of Tuesday, the response rate for the 2020 census was 59.6 percent nationally.

Colorado had a 62.4 percent response rate.

Chaffee County’s response rate was at 48.7 percent.

Response rates for local municipalities were:

Salida – 62 percent.

Buena Vista – 36.4 percent.

Poncha Springs – 19.7 percent.

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