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As schools debate about returning to online learning, the lack of internet access for many Americans is a big sticking point.

USA TODAY

MILWAUKEE — For schools across Wisconsin, Friday could turn out to be the single most important day on the calendar this year.

The third Friday in September is significant every year for Wisconsin public schools and private schools that accept children on taxpayer-funded vouchers. By law, students counted as enrolled on that date dictate in large part state and local funding for the current school year – and in many cases beyond.

The date is different for schools in other states, but the consequences are largely the same, and the coronavirus pandemic is complicating this year’s counts all over as schools struggle to connect with students online, and families move their children to different schools or pull them out altogether to be home-schooled. 

“We’re anticipating the