Queen Anne's School, a prep school in Maryland has a system in place so that if school is cancelled because of inclement weather, every student and teacher logs on to the internet and they have Cyber School. The headmaster talked about IM, and they seem to have a really serious and involved Virtual School system. And they've been doing this for 7 years.
There has been some talk of late amongst state level administrators about trying to plan for the possibilities of epidemics - bird flu being the inspiration behind these conversations - and trying to deal with what can be done if school needs to shut down for months at a time. This *could* be done, but there are about a gazillion steps between us and Queen Anne's School's readiness.
Heard on NPR (only 3 minutes)
my favorite quote - "As headmaster, I can tell you that I know more about what goes on and can really validate the worthwhile nature of it on a cyber school day than I can when they're on campus."