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Portsmouth teacher finds ways to connect with students during pandemic

Posted at 8:27 PM, Apr 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-22 20:27:43-04

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - Being a teacher can be hard enough, but teaching remotely is especially challenging. We honor one local educator whose desire to keep her students’ attention started long before the current crisis we’re in.

Elizabeth Sandefur is determined to keep her 2nd graders from Portsmouth Christian School in the learning mode, even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s definitely challenging. We can only have four kids in a group at a time and so one of them will get up and start doing something,” Sandefur explained. “I’m like, ‘Guys, you gotta pay attention so we can get through this.’”

Her sister, Jessica, is also a teacher. She’s the one who nominated her Elizabeth for a People Taking Award for finding ways to connect with students long distance.

“Even at night, she also is able to call each student and have them read to her,” Jessica told us. “She also just went up to the school to pass out packets, and then she made a little basket for the kids and brought it to their house practicing social distancing. Knocked on the door, left it. I just see how she needs to be appreciated because she’s gone above and beyond even when she was in the classroom.”

This is the first time we’ve presented a People Taking Action award remotely, so I showed it to Elizabeth while on our teleconference call. Our community partner, Southern Bank, also remotely presented her with a $300 Visa gift card.

Elizabeth was thrilled.

“I love teaching and I want them to understand what I’m trying to teach and I think it’s important for them to enjoy school,” she said.

To nominate someone for a People Taking Action Award, email us at

Click here for full coronavirus coverage.