‘It’s finally here’: Are colleges prepared to receive a first-year cohort shaped by COVID-19?

Clifford Armstead III’s hardest goodbye before college dresses up in his clothes and shoes and follows him around all day.

It’s his baby brother. Since the pandemic’s onset, Clifford (“CJ”) and his brother, nicknamed “SJ,” have grown used to staying up well past SJ’s bedtime — they’ll fall asleep on the couch together watching animated movies: the Cars series, FrozenBig Hero 6. Now more than ever, the five-year-old “teddy bear” is Clifford’s mini-me.

“I tell him I’m going to FaceTime him when I get down there,” Clifford said, about when he heads to Howard University.

The brothers have always been close. The pandemic just brought them closer. And that will make the goodbye even more of a challenge.

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