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High schoolers celebrate with virtual proms amid coronavirus pandemic

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High school students across the country are partying on with the time-honored teenage tradition of attending prom – albeit by video conference, from home.

As school has gone virtual during the coronavirus pandemic, students are gathering online for alternative celebrations in lieu of the big dance. With a little help from platforms including YouTube, Zoom and social media, prom-inspired festivities are being held digitally by celebrities and brands for the Class of 2020.

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)

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)

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“It's terrible that it's happening to your class, but I hope you're having a good time anyway," actress Allison Williams told partygoers at the Baton Rouge Youth Coalition digital prom on April 16. The “Get Out” actress served as guest DJ, which was attended by about 100 teens, staff and guests, the Associated Press reports.

The theme’s fête was “Royaltee,” welcoming kids to wear their special prom outfit if they had already purchased it, or whatever they pleased, like a T-shirt, if they never got the chance to go shopping.

While Williams sparkled in a sequin dress, she joked that she couldn't hop up to dance because “there are sweatpants happening.”

In a similar soiree, “Jack Ryan” star John Krasinski hosted a live prom on YouTube on April 17, joined by performers Billie Eilish, Chance the Rapper and the Jonas Brothers.

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For teens planning to celebrate later in the school year, Teen Vogue magazine is hosting a virtual prom via Zoom on May 16. About 5,000 students are expected to attend.

“Prom is definitely one of those bigger life moments when you're growing up, even if you find it to be corny or not cool. It definitely still is something that's a moment you look back on and remember,” Teen Vogue editor-in-chief Lindsay Peoples Wagner said.

Special guests Emma Chamberlain of YouTube fame, singer H.E.R. and “Euphoria” star Storm Reid are expected to attend.

“It will be really interactive, and that's going to be the fun part of it,” Peoples Wagner said.

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Because no prom is complete without some late-night eats, fast food chain Jack in the Box is working with schools in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Houston for a #StayInTheBox campaign to promote social distancing. The chain plans to help coordinate a prom in May, complete with free food and complimentary delivery codes.

On the home front, other high school seniors have brought a little prom magic to the great indoors with celebrations on the porch and in the dining room.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.