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Shoulder To Shoulder, 6 Feet Apart: Baker Swears In New Mass. State Police Troopers02:22
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Some of the 240 new Massachusetts State Police troopers as they  marched out of Gillette Stadium after Gov. Charlie Baker swore them in at a graduation ceremony.  (Pool photo/Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe)
Some of the 240 new Massachusetts State Police troopers as they marched out of Gillette Stadium after Gov. Charlie Baker swore them in at a graduation ceremony. (Pool photo/Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe)

While most graduations are canceled or postponed this spring, one took place today in Foxboro, as the latest class of new Massachusetts State Police cadets were administered the oath of office.

The 240 newly minted troopers marched into an empty Gillette Stadium to be sworn into the force. They stood six feet apart on the playing field, each wearing a face mask emblazoned with the State Police Logo.

Gov. Charlie Baker traveled to Foxboro to administer the oath of office. He said he had mixed feelings holding a large ceremony.

"I needed to swear them in before they could actually go to work. And I need them to go to work," Baker told reporters outside the stadium. "And this was deemed as a way to accomplish both of those objectives as quickly as we possibly could. We need them out there. And and I say that recognizing and appreciating that for a lot of other people, the gathering rule is a is a is an enormous impediment to many of the rituals of daily life, I get that."

Baker said the troopers are coming on board at an unprecedented time, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

He also said it is "encouraging" to see positive progress in the reduction of coronavirus cases, a requirement before businesses can be re-opened.

"Our goal starting on May 18 is to begin reopening certain types of businesses in a limited fashion, where it can be done more safely than under normal operations," said Baker. "But this phased-in process can't begin until we see sustained downward trends in many of the data elements that we talk about every day."

Baker said the steps the public has taken to reduce the spread of the virus are working, and hopes his mandatory order for people to wear masks in public will make the number of cases and hospitalizations fall even more.

"This requirement in Massachusetts under our order applies to all workers and customers of businesses and other organizations that are open to the public. Face coverings will be expected at all times in grocery stores, retail stores and on public transportation," he said.

Baker said he's already hearing from front line workers who face the public every day, thankful the mask order is now in place.

This segment aired on May 6, 2020.

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Steve Brown Twitter Senior Reporter/Anchor
Steve Brown is a veteran broadcast journalist who serves as WBUR's senior State House reporter.

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