Bay Area health officers set criteria for removing indoor mask mandate

STORY BY TOMOKI CHIEN, GRAPHIC BY ALLISON HUANG

Bay Area health officers yesterday set criteria for rescinding indoor mask requirements, potentially paving the way for a removal of the mandate previously set in August.

In order to remove the mandates, counties must reach the “moderate” tier of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 transmission standards; the county health officer must judge that COVID-19 hospitalizations are “low and stable”; and either 80% of the county must be fully vaccinated or eight weeks must have passed since emergency authorization of COVID-19 vaccines for 5 to 11 year olds.

Santa Clara County sits in the “substantial” tier of transmission, just above the “moderate” tier, and 84.2% of residents 12 and older are fully vaccinated.

Yesterday’s criteria, set jointly by eight Bay Area jurisdictions, are the first metrics offered by the health officers for transitioning out of the indoor mask mandate since it was set in August.

“With regional data showing that the surge is now receding, and with the Bay Area one of the most vaccinated regions in the country, the health officers agree it is time to plan for a transition,” a county press release reads.

A rescinded mask mandate, though, would not preclude businesses from continuing to impose their own requirements, the health officers said.

Justice Vanguard hosts Juneteenth celebration in Los Altos

STORY AND PHOTOS BY ARYA NASIKKAR

Justice Vanguard, a local activist group, hosted its annual Juneteenth event yesterday at Lincoln Park in Los Altos. The event aimed to educate those unfamiliar with the history of the holiday — which just recently became nationally recognized — and raise funds for the group’s scholarship for Black students in the Mountain View–Los Altos Unified School District.

The event saw a variety of booths including wine tasting, poetry, music, education and merchandise booths, all of which helped fundraise for the $15,000 “Blackalaureate” scholarship.

Here are some of the memorable moments of the day.

Over 600 people attended the celebration at Lincoln Park.
Seth Moos, 17, shares the history of Juneteenth at an education booth. The booth distributed flyers with information about Black history.
P. Harrell Wines, a Black-owned winery based in Oakland, fundraised for the Blackalaureate scholarship.
Toni Moos informs guests about the auction and Justice Vanguard’s scholarship.
Music was on full blast, some sharing messages from Black artists.
Booths featuring soul food, cocktails and pastries were served and all proceeds were donated to support the fundraiser.
The Cookout, a local Black-owned food truck, serves a variety of soul food dishes.
Kyle Moos narrates the poem “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou.
A flag dance was performed, sharing a powerful image and message with the audience.
Kenan Moos (left) and Kiyoshi Taylor (right), founders of Justice Vanguard, pose for a photo.

We’re taking a break

We’re taking a break.

Since founding the Post, we’ve taken pride in our efforts to deliver consistent, reliable and timely content to engage high schoolers in local news. But we’re also proud of our internal values of mutual trust, respect and compassion — we look out for each other.

So for the next week, we won’t be publishing content of any kind.

The lofty goals and expectations we set for ourselves are what push us to deliver a product we’re proud of, but they can also cause us to generally neglect our own well-being.

While much of our team is fortunate to have the resources that we do, our exhaustive efforts put into the Post, academics and other extracurriculars — in conjunction with the ongoing pandemic — have pushed many of us into very real struggles with our mental health.

Rushing to breaking news, losing sleep to publish content and sacrificing our other commitments isn’t helping any of that.

A short break from the Post gives us space to breathe, and the ability to return with a new energy to reassess and tackle our challenges as a team.

We recognize that a week-long break will not solve the serious mental-health problems that many of us and teens around the nation face in light of the pandemic, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Our team has always sought to have open and honest conversations about mental health, and we see this as a much-needed continuation of not only that, but a precedent to set for our workplace culture.

While we’re on our break, we encourage you to check out the Los Altos High School Talon, Mountain View High School Oracle, Gunn High School Oracle and Palo Alto High School Verde Magazine — all student publications whose work we follow closely and respect — for your student journalism fix.

And, as always, the Los Altos Town Crier, Mountain View Voice and Palo Alto Weekly are all excellent local publications run by hard working teams of journalists that we admire and aspire to.

We’ll be back shortly.

Tomoki Chien, editor-in-chief
Cedric Chan, managing editor
Allison Huang, chief visual journalist
Natalie Arbatman, copy editor
Carly Heltzel, copy editor
Cathryn Krajewski, lead videographer
Gil Rubinstein, education manager
Olivia Hewang, reporter
Dana Huch, reporter
Agnes Mar, reporter
Jonas Pao, reporter
Garv Virginkar, reporter
Melody Xu, reporter
Emily McNally, photographer
Mia Bassett, videographer
Kaitlyn Huang, videographer

Foothills Park renamed Foothills Nature Preserve, city to implement annual passes

STORY BY OLIVIA HEWANG, PHOTO BY TOMOKI CHIEN

The Palo Alto City Council tonight voted unanimously to rename Foothills Park to Foothills Nature Preserve, implement annual passes and set the attendance cap to 300 visitors at a time, although the city manager may increase the cap up to a maximum of 650 visitors. 

The council set annual passes at $50 for Palo Alto residents and $65 for non-residents, exempting veterans, low-income visitors, student drivers and disabled visitors from the fee. Visitors can purchase passes online and by phone starting Feb. 27. 

These changes join a host of modifications — such as the preserve’s new $6 vehicle entry fee — made by the city after opening the park to the public in December brought on an influx of visitors

There remain a few loose ends, including when the entry fee will go into effect. The implementation of the changes is up to the Parks and Recreation Commission, which will discuss further details at their meeting tomorrow, such as whether or not to charge an entry fee for pedestrians and cyclists.