The coronavirus, while certainly something to be concerned about, should be kept in perspective and does not warrant panic at this point. Keep an eye on it, but overreactions can be as dangerous as the virus itself.

The New Bedford School System has been on top of the coronavirus story from the start and has issued timely advisories to parents and the community at large that address the situation. Those advisories and others have been posted on the City of New Bedford's website and to the WBSM website as well.

Superintendent Thomas Anderson says school facilities have been and will continue to be sanitized to reduce the risk to students and staff. There has been no movement yet towards canceling classes or other school-related activities because of the coronavirus.

Most health officials have warned against using masks to prevent contracting the virus and have said only those who might have come in contact with it should consider using a mask.

In a day and age when cold temperatures and just the threat of snow is enough to force the cancellation of classes, it is encouraging to see that local school officials are reacting with the right measure of concern and caution to the coronavirus without going overboard. Just remember, if the cable news networks are in freakout mode over the coronavirus, chances are pretty good that you don't have to be.

Keep in mind, however, that all of this could change quickly should the coronavirus rear its ugly head around here, so stay up to date with the latest developments and be prepared to act, but don't panic. That usually just makes things worse.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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