Members of the Massachusetts National Guard will once again be heading to Washington, D.C., after Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday signed an order approving up to 700 Air and Army National Guard personnel for a mission at the request of federal officials.

The guard members are expected to leave for Washington “in the coming days” and return to Massachusetts on Feb. 23, according to the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, which said the mission is separate from the 500 personnel who spent last week in the nation’s capital to support security around the inauguration of President Joe Biden.

The guard members and counterparts from other states will support the U.S. Secret Service, according to a statement, and are making the trip at the request of the Secret Service, Department of Defense and National Guard Bureau.

The military newspaper Stars and Stripes has reported that up to 7,000 National Guard troops could remain in Washington through March 12 because of concerns of more violence after the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of people supporting then-President Donald Trump.

State public safety officials said that the soldiers and airmen who are traveling will undergo pre-departure health screenings and COVID-19 tests and will be required to wear masks. They will also be housed in individual rooms while deployed to the D.C. area, to reduce virus transmission risks.

(Copyright (c) 2020 State House News Service.

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