First day of school in New York City

The start of the 2019-2020 school year began Thursday for the 1.1 million students in the New York City public school system.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza were expected to visit schools in all five boroughs on the first day.

Changes and challenges were anticipated for the new school year in the largest school district in the nation.

School officials continue to struggle with how to desegregate schools.   A panel appointed by de Blasio recommended ending the gifted and talented programs that have lead to mostly white and Asian students enrolled while the majority of students are black and Hispanic.

Other changes include cafeteria menu adjustments like ditching salami-and-cheese sandwiches in response to a report from the World Health Organization on processed meat.

Schools will also offer vegetarian breakfasts and lunches on Meatless Mondays.

Lead removal was on the agenda with more than 1,800 classrooms needing remediation over the summer break. School officials said the classrooms would be safe for the start of the school year.

And, under a deal between schools and the NYPD, school safety agents were discouraged from  arresting students for minor offenses like marijuana possession.