Brewer High School students follow social distancing recommendations at lunch in the school's gymnasium on Jan. 27, 2021. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

Today is Friday. Rain will continue this morning, but should taper off from south to north as the day continues. Here’s what we’re talking about in Maine today.

The latest on the coronavirus

Five more Mainers died and 620 new coronavirus cases were reported on Thursday, according to the Maine CDC. The statewide death toll now stands at 951. Check out our COVID-19 Tracker for more information.

The Hermon School Department said Thursday that grades 5-12 will be fully remote starting on Monday, Sept. 13 and continuing until at least Sept. 20 due to high coronavirus case numbers as the new school year gets underway.

A new COVID-19 variant that has sparked concerns about possible vaccine resistance was detected in Maine early this summer, but it has not taken off here in another sign that it does not spread nearly as easily as the dominant strain.

Maine’s youth prison continues to use dangerous tactics, watchdog says

Maine’s youth prison continues to use dangerous force against incarcerated kids even after a watchdog report warned about it more than four years ago, according to an advocacy group that has oversight power of the prison. 

169,000 Maine workers face vaccination or testing under new Joe Biden mandate

The plan will mandate all employers with more than 100 workers to require their workers to be vaccinated for COVID-19 or tested for the virus weekly.

ALSO: Just weeks after he mandated federal workers get a shot or face rigorous testing and masking protocols, Biden has signed an new executive order to require vaccination for employees of the executive branch and contractors that do business with the federal government.

Bangor jail is functioning without 25 percent of its staff as overcrowding persists

The Penobscot County Jail is functioning without 25 percent of its staff due to vacancies and medical leaves, according to Sheriff Troy Morton.

Maine sees record number of COVID-19 patients in ICUs and on ventilators

A record 74 COVID-19 patients were in intensive care units across Maine on Thursday as virus cases continue to surge across the state, testing hospital resources.

For firefighters in Maine, 9/11 was a ‘turning point’ in their field

The first thing that struck Knox County native Paul Doughty as he arrived in lower Manhattan around dusk on Sept. 11, 2001, was the silence.

Penobscot County continues to see a disproportionate share of Maine’s overdose deaths

The most recent state data on drug overdose deaths show Penobscot County has retained its position as a Maine county with one of the highest rates of people dying from drug overdoses.

Early COVID-19 outbreaks in Maine schools show challenges of in-person class during surge

More than a dozen Maine schools have reported COVID-19 outbreaks in the first few weeks of the new semester.

We want to see your Maine black bear photos

If you have been reading the Outdoors section of the Bangor Daily News for the last several months, you have been treated to some fantastic photographs and videos of Maine wildlife. With the fall (OK, it’s only late summer) hunting season in full swing, we want to share more of your photos with our readers.

An orange football helmet helped a Canadian wide receiver wind up at UMaine

When University of Maine wide receiver Michael Monios was in eighth grade, he attended Boston College’s summer football camp, where current UMaine head coach Nick Charlton was working as an assistant at the time.

This is the best time of year to see migrating birds in the Gulf of Maine

A funny thing happens in the Gulf of Maine this time of year. A whole bunch of northern birds are heading south for the winter. Meanwhile, a whole bunch of southern birds have come north, waiting for winter to end in the southern hemisphere. When the southbound birds meet the northbound birds, it’s a wonder there aren’t head-on collisions.

In other Maine news:

How to follow Maine’s 2021 any-deer lottery results

After devastating fire, Frenchville elementary students are finally back to school

Bangor would be 1st in Maine to ban flavored tobacco sales

Belfast city worker dies after hitting head near waterfront

Environmentalists sue Kennebec dams’ owner, alleging endangered species violations

Attorney general’s office declines to pursue hate crime charges in Presque Isle incident

School leaders in Orono rethink plans for what was supposed to be a close-to-normal year

Auburn man charged with attempted murder of girlfriend

500 bikers will race down Sugarloaf this weekend as mountain transforms into a competition destination

Former Bangor Hydro building in downtown Bangor has been sold to NY developer

White House will pull ATF nominee opposed by Maine senators