Mayor Bloomberg just announced that in the wake of Hurricane Sandy public schools in the city will remain closed for the rest of the week (though teachers need to report for duty on Friday). That millions of lucky city kids are getting themselves a special Halloween vacation—is that unprecedented? Kind of!

Back in 1993, when there was a Board of Education instead of a Department of Education, the city had to delay the start of the school year for 11 days due to asbestos contamination and some schools were closed even longer during the 1968 teachers strike. Those were the two big long closings in modern New York City school history and it doesn't look like we'll be getting to those levels this time.

As for other school closings? Historically the city has actively tried to do everything it can to NOT close schools. Between 1978 and the blizzard of 1996 the city didn't once declare a weather-related citywide closing in advance. Since then, though, they have been a little more frequent with Hurricane Floyd in 1999, the March blizzard of 2001, a January 2004 snowstorm, a March 2009 snow storm and two February 2010 storms bringing them down. The Blizzard of 2010, however, did not cause schools to close—because it hit the day after Christmas. There was a closing the next month though!

So, kids, enjoy your historic vacation! Just think how much longer it would be if suddenly the DOE got really worried about all those cancer-causing PCBs in your classroom lights...