In terms of a good excuse for not doing your homework, the one about a virus eating pupils' work is actually true.

According to Slashdot, pupils at the Lake Washington School District had been issued laptops in order to improve remote working, however a computer virus caused havoc for the district as it worked its way through the laptops.

Geekwire reported that the virus disrupted classes and cost the district money, as the district spent more than a month fighting off the Goblin virus. According to Eset, this polymorphic virus spreads via removable media and fire shares with techniques aimed to outwit the anti-virus scanning engines.

Lake Washington District director of communications Kathryn Reith said that the virus was "an extremely sophisticated one". Despite all of the laptops running Windows 7, Goblin works through executable files and networks and this led to the district having to hire five temporary IT staff members to suppress the virus.

A computer virus outbreak is certainly a modern reason for not being able to work. Perhaps this is an example of how a lack of preparation or deployment of mobile devices to be used outside of the perimeter can come back to bite the IT department, but this is a school, so unlikely to have such staff.

Geekwire reported that the proximity of the school to Redmond was Microsoft's reason for involvement in supporting local and national education, and that Lake Washington School District has previously served as a poster child of sorts for Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing Group.

Even so, the fallibility of devices in the hands of the unprepared is one of the key worries of bring your own device (BYOD) and device deployment policies, and this is a prime example of how such a challenge can cause havoc. Plus, it is one step up from ‘my dog ate my homework'.