CHAPEL HILL — The coronavirus outbreak is catching some students studying abroad off guard.

However, Chapel Hill edtech startup Terra Dotta is working to address that.

The firm, which offers cloud solutions and mobile apps to streamline all aspects of global collegiate travel and international student programs, is hosting a webinar to discuss higher education’s response and best practices for study abroad and international education.

“Coronavirus: How to Prepare Your Students and Faculty” will be held on Wednesday, March 4. at 2 pm.

It will featuring crisis management and travel risk experts from Vigilint, a leading global telemedicine, medical advisory, logistics and medical staffing company, and WorldAware, the an integrated risk management company delivering intelligence and insights.

“Our goal is to support our higher ed institution clients across the globe as they work diligently to communicate with and ensure the safety of all students and faculty located in regions affected by the Coronavirus,”Anthony Rotoli, Terra Dotta’s CEO, told WRAL TechWire.

Moderated by Rotoli, the webinar will include a panel discussion with Eric W. Ossmann, MD, FACEP, founder and senior medical advisor at Vigilint, and Courtney Kansler, senior health intelligence analyst at WorldAware.

Topics will include clarifying the realities of coronavirus impacts, comprehensive responses and information for obtaining medical care abroad, and best practices for preventing infection spread and managing suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases.

In addition to providing increased support to institutions worldwide during this time, Terra Dotta has made available to all customers a complimentary version of its AlertTraveler® mobile app, which is typically only available as part of Terra Dotta’s real-time travel risk management system.

The complimentary version of AlertTraveler provides institutions universal access to view emergency alerts across all regions where they have known travelers to help track the Coronavirus and other alerts, and help institutions aid affected students and faculty.

“By providing up-to-the-minute alerts to administrators and travelers, as well as the ability to monitor the location of travelers and provide information for local emergency resources, Terra Dotta is helping colleges and universities make informed decisions,” said Rotoli.

Terra Dotta was founded in 2001 by Brandon Lee and and Garret Christian, who is also still with the company, serving as our chief strategy officer.

More than 600 institutional offices — and counting — use its products, including the Medical University of South Carolina, Illinois Institute of Technology, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and University of Vermont.

Universities taking action

UNC-Chapel Hill is expanding its travel restrictions on nonessential University-affiliated travel to Italy, including the cancellation of all spring 2020 semester study abroad programs in Italy. Travel restrictions are now in place for China, South Korea and Italy.

“We are communicating with affected students studying abroad in these countries about their return to the United States and their academic continuation options. At this time, there are no changes to the summer or fall 2020 study abroad programs,” the University said on its website.

The Duke Global Education Office (GEO) is also closely monitoring the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation around the world.

“At the moment, Coronavirus has impacted our programs in Italy and Asia. Duke has restricted university-affiliated travel to Italy and China,” it said on its website.

Students studying on Duke-sponsored study away programs in Italy will be returning home. GEO is working with these students to return home safely and finish their semesters.

GEO’s Duke Study in China summer program will now be run in Wilmington, North Carolina

“At this time, Duke said it doesn’t anticipate COVID-19 impacting other summer programs; however, that could change with little warning.”

To register for the complimentary webinar, please click here.

Poised for growth, Chapel Hill edtech firm Terra Dotta goes on hiring spree