Where’s Tucker?

AP Human Geography teacher contracts COVID-19 returning from fall break


Lauralai Gilbert

World Geography teacher, Robert Tucker grades assignments in his classroom, after returning from his 10-day quarantine. Over break Mr. Tucker tested positive for COVID-19, and was unable to return until Oct. 12.

Adrian Pereira, Staff Writer

On Oct. 3, an email was sent to the students of Advanced Placement (AP) and regular Human Geography teacher Robert Tucker. In the email, Tucker explained that he had contracted COVID-19 on Oct. 2, the day before fall break was over. According to Tucker, his results didn’t surprise him.

“[I was] shocked, but not too [much] because I had a feeling that it was a matter of time [before he contracted the disease],” Tucker said.

Not having him in the classroom has made it difficult to do things [such as] test corrections where you [students] need the teacher to be [present].”

— freshman Michael Maywood

As a result, his students were advised of Tucker’s situation through email, Jupiter Grades, Google Classroom and Infinite Campus. Tucker also mentioned that he was fortunate enough to get substitute teacher Jordan Raby. Raby was a former student of Tucker and is now a registered substitute teacher for the Sweetwater Union High School District (SUHSD).

“On my end here, I’m still able to see what students are doing because I have access to Google Classroom and I was fortunate to get a great [substitute], Ms. Raby,” Tucker said. “I could trust her to conduct my lessons as if I was there. [It] was reassuring knowing that I have her to help out.” 

Tucker planned on being absent for a total of five school days. As a result, he missed out on a vital week of work and his absence negatively affected his students, according to Tucker. Additionally, Tucker states that the students depend on him to prepare for the upcoming grading period and AP test. 

“One of the things [I’m worried about] is [grades] because [students] have grades coming up [as] our second progress report [is] in a couple of weeks,” Tucker said.

His absence was worrying to his students, such as freshman Michael Maywood. He believes that he and his classmates may have missed out on certain activities.

“Not having him in the classroom has made it difficult to do things [such as] test corrections where you [students] need the teacher to be [present],” Maywood said. 

Although Raby tried her best to deliver the material as unaltered as possible, some students still say that there were some gaps in their learning that week. Freshman Victoria Arancibia’s opinion on Tucker’s absence matched that of most AP students. 

“His absence has changed the teaching style of his lessons as Ms. Raby taught the lessons a bit differently than Mr. Tucker,” Arancibia said. “We [the students] didn’t make the contextual connections that we would have made if he were there. Some people might have made mistakes because their usual teacher wasn’t there to guide them through it.”

Tucker stresses the importance of wearing a mask and getting vaccinated to prevent the spread of COVID-19. To Tucker, although someone may have a mild reaction, they could pass it on to someone else that doesn’t have the immune strength to handle a virus like this.

“Whether I contribute to it or not, I attest to the fact that I was vaccinated and I feel that me being vaccinated was one of the reasons why I’m not currently on a ventilator [and] that I feel fine,” Tucker said.

Tucker also believes that quarantining, although necessary to stop the spread, can negatively impact people’s work. According to Tucker, he has seen firsthand how some work can’t be done remotely and pile up.

“[My] absence is hurting many students’ grades because of the fact that [if] they have COVID-19, they have to stay home, and then they have to make up all this work,” Tucker said. “That’s another reason why it’s really important students follow the mask policy and teachers enforce it. When students are absent, it makes it difficult on all of us to make sure that students play catch up; [that] they don’t fall too behind to the point where they throw their hands up and they give up.”

After feeling the effects of the horrible disease, Tucker is planning to take firmer steps toward preventing the spread of COVID-19 in his classroom. For Tucker, although there is a mask policy in place at BVH, the rules are not always followed by the students. 

“We have many students, they wear the mask below their nose, or sometimes they take it off in class […] I have to follow protocol and I couldn’t go back [and change anything] but I’m going to be a little more stricter with enforcing the mask policy. I don’t like being [the] mask police [but] students safety is always first and foremost,” Tucker said.