To keep its workers and the public safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Census Bureau has extended deadlines to Aug. 14 — but responding sooner online, by phone or by mail will save the cost and effort of Census takers to ensure a complete count.

Responses help to direct billions of dollars in federal funds to local communities for schools, roads and other public services. According to Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long, chair of Delaware’s Complete Count Commission, each person counted brings in more than $2,200 to $2,400 per year to Delaware, adding up to millions over the next decade.

Results from the 2020 Census will also be used to determine political representation in the state legislature and local government councils or other governing bodies.

Under the revised plan, nonresponse follow-up is currently scheduled for May 28 through Aug. 14. During that period, census takers will knock on doors and interview households in person that have not responded online, by phone, or by mail.

Most households received their invitation to respond to the 2020 Census between March 12-20. The official Census Bureau mailings included detailed information and a Census ID for completing the Census online. In addition to an invitation to respond, some households also received a paper questionnaire, sometimes known as the census form.

Citizens should be counted where they were living and sleeping most of the time as of April 1. Those responding from their home should count everyone who lives and sleeps there most of the time as of April 1, including young children, foster children, roommates and any family members or friends who are living there even temporarily.

However, if someone is staying in a home temporarily on April 1 due to the COVID-19 situation, they should be counted where they usually live. This includes college students, who should still be counted at school, even if they are home early because of the COVID-19 situation. If they live in student housing, the college will count them. If they live off campus, they should respond for the off-campus address and include any roommates or other people living there.

If someone is staying in the house April 1 who doesn’t have a usual home elsewhere, they should be included in the response.

For help responding, visit 2020census.gov/en/help.html or call 844-330-2020. At the website, there are phone numbers for those who speak 16 languages. Phone lines are open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. EST daily.

The League of Women Voters of Delaware, a Census partner, compiled this information from the official Census Bureau website as a public service to the state.