What having Zoom prom is really like, according to 3 high schoolers who had their dances canceled due to the coronavirus


This photo shows high school seniors who attended a virtual prom via Zoom on April 16 hosted by the Baton Rouge Youth Coalition. With the Class of 2020 missing out on so many traditions due to the coronavirus pandemic, many have gone online to participate in virtual proms. (Baton Rouge Youth Coalition via AP)

  • With much of the country under stay-at-home orders, some high schoolers are recreating milestones like prom over Zoom.
  • Students have been getting creative with ways to make guests feel involved, even if they can’t actually be there in person.
  • Others have virtually recreated big moments canceled because of coronavirus, including weddings and graduations, on Zoom.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The coronavirus is canceling plans, grounding planes, and closing schools, but some high schoolers are determined not to miss out on prom.

For people across the country, videoconferencing tool Zoom has emerged as a solution to singing and dancing with friends, and showing off a new outfit, while still maintaining social distancing guidance and preventing possible COVID-19 exposure.

The US now has the largest coronavirus outbreak of any country, and a third of the world is under some kind of lockdown. Once schools closed, high school juniors and seniors realized that they’d miss out on some big milestones they’d been looking forward to for the year, like prom and graduation. 

One group of students in Japan gained attention for hosting virtual graduation in Minecraft, but being able to see each other and socialize is key to the prom experience. 

Here’s what it’s like to have a Zoom prom, according to teens who did it. 

17-year-old Zain Gregg from Florida attended a Zoom prom for “theater kids” after his school’s prom was cancelled, which he told Business Insider would have been a big deal for him and his friends. His friend Shelby and her parents threw a virtual Prom over Zoom, where friends could call in or get together from a safe distance outside. Their prom even had a photo booth for people to take pictures, while ensuring they maintained social distance.

Screen Shot 2020 04 27 at 1.30.02 PM

Gregg told Business Insider that although it wasn’t the typical prom experience, it was “a moment to feel like we were normal again.” They chatted and played multiplayer games online, like Cards Against Humanity.

We “all had a chance to laugh again and see each other, even if it wasn’t in person. We’re like that one big annoying family that has so many different members,” he said of his friend group.

Alyssa Calderon, a senior in high school, also attended a Zoom prom. Her prom was hosted by her school, though she told Business Insider that only about 80 people out of her 900-person class joined the call. Calderon said the best part of the event was being able to see her friends, but ” the worst part was that we couldn’t really dance and hang out with everyone like we used to. It really made me miss everyone.”

The idea of a Zoom prom came up soon after the regular prom was cancelled, and seniors were sad about missing one of their final milestones. Still, the Zoom prom couldn’t really compare to the real thing, which Calderon attended last year. “It was quite awkward at first and no one really knew how to break the ice” she said.


It got better, though; the host played music over her speakers so everyone could dance on their own, and later everyone sang karaoke, which Calderon said brought together members of the class who didn’t ordinarily hang out together.

Rylee Jasnowski in Kansas went to a Zoom prom organized by her English teacher. This version of a virtual prom was about each student getting to show off their outfit and have their moment in the spotlight. “The best part actually getting dressed up and putting on my dress and seeing other people in their dresses” Jasnowski said, though it was somewhat of a disappointing replacement for a night of dancing with friends and a fancy dinner.

“My teacher gave everyone the spot light and we got to talk about and do a full view of our outfits,” she told Business Insider. Instead of renting tuxes, some of the boys dressed up in cowboys hats or other costumes. Even girls who hadn’t bought prom dresses came, with full hair and makeup. 

SEE ALSO: This is what getting married over Zoom is like, according to 2 couples who had to change their wedding plans due to the coronavirus

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Pathologists debunk 13 coronavirus myths