Project Team FAQs-Spring 2021

Frequently Asked Questions: Spring 2021

Last updated: January 12, 2021

Cornell Engineering Student Project Teams

Administration and Scheduling

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How will project teams operate in spring 2021?

Cornell Engineering Student Project Teams will continue in modified modes in spring 2021 to ensure the health and safety of students. The project teams are unique in engineering as student-directed activities that make extensive use of college provided spaces and resources.  They pose special opportunities and challenges in a physically distanced environment; however, these activities were successfully managed in a hybrid model during fall 2020 with administrative oversight and reasonable controls.

Will project teams be required to operate online only or will there by a hybrid option?

Like fall semester, all activities that can be managed remotely should be handled remotely to begin with. This includes all-hands and sub-team meetings, design reviews, software and computer-based work. A start date for additional (small) in-person activities will be determined later in the semester based on recommendations from health and safety experts, in alignment with Student & Campus Life guidance for student organizations. For activities that cannot be done remotely (building, manufacturing, fabrication) teams will work with the Project Team Director for approval (see additional information under “workspaces & safety”, below).

Will project teams be allowed to hold in-person meetings?

Initially, all meetings should be conducted virtually. A start date for additional (small) in-person activities will be determined later in the semester based on recommendations from health and safety experts, in alignment with Student & Campus Life guidance for student organizations. Most meetings should continue virtually for the duration of the semester. Team leads should take access considerations into account. Teams should leverage campus technology and support and plan to record sessions via Zoom and save them to the team Canvas page*. Teams should also consider alternate timing (not all students will be in the same time zone, class schedules may be more complicated, some students may need to quarantine) when scheduling meetings.

*Zoom sessions that are initiated within Canvas, and where recordings are made to the cloud, will be FERPA compliant.  The processed recordings are posted only to the Zoom cloud available through Canvas. This is the preferred mode of recording and typically the simplest approach. Recording of Zoom sessions initiated through cornell.zoom.us are not FERPA compliant as the final recordings are not strictly restricted to the class (team) members.  However, if you record to your computer and upload only to your Canvas site, the process can be FERPA compliant.

Will project teams be allowed to host events during spring semester?

During the spring semester, the university will continue to suspend events that involve outside guests. Project Teams must not host any small or large events or events that involve guests from outside the Cornell community.

Will project teams be allowed to host recruiter visits during spring semester?

Recruiter visits will be virtual until travel and visitor restrictions have been lifted. Team leads should coordinate with the Engineering Career Center to ensure that recruiter events are advertised on Handshake and that all students have access to them.

Will current and new members who are off-campus (domestic or international) or in quarantine be able to participate in project teams remotely?

Yes! Team leads planning activities should take access considerations into account to ensure that students who are off-campus (domestic or international) or in quarantine can participate remotely. Teams should leverage campus technology and support and plan to record sessions via Zoom and save them to the team Canvas page.i Teams should also consider alternate timing (not all students will be in the same time zone, class schedules may be more complicated, some students may need to quarantine) when scheduling meetings.

How will training and on-boarding sessions typically held in person be conducted?

All training and on-boarding will be conducted virtually.

How will safety training be conducted?

Virtual synchronous safety training will be scheduled for new members and students who will begin on-campus work for the first time. Additional synchronous and asynchronous trainings will be scheduled and made available via CULearn and/or the Team Leads Canvas page as needed throughout the semester.

Will safety leads be a point of contact for communicating guidelines/restrictions?

Each team’s safety lead and primary lead(s) participated in project team safety training at the beginning of the fall semester. This training distilled key safety considerations and reviewed new procedures and policies for safe operation in the current environment in detail. The Project Team Director will work with safety leads to conduct additional training and communication, as needed, for team members.

Can students participating in co-ops also participate in project teams?

Yes, students who are participating in co-ops may also participate in project team activities. Students should ensure that project team work does not interfere with their co-op work schedule.

Workspaces and Safety

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Will teams with hands-on work that cannot be done virtually be allowed to meet or work in person?

For activities that cannot be done remotely (building, manufacturing, fabrication) teams will work with the Project Team Director for approval.  The Experiential Learning Lab (ELL) in Upson Hall will be available for teams that typically work in that space. The Project Team Director will continue to coordinate with College and Department leadership for teams that typically work in other labs across campus.

What rules will be in place for working in the ELL? How will the density of the ELL workspaces be decreased to conform with the health guidelines?  How will these measures be enforced?

Hands-on work during winter session and spring semester will continue to follow the guidance and requirements developed and implemented during fall semester. Teams will be required to self-organize into relatively autonomous sub-teams (“pods”) based on the nature of the activities. Team leads will submit updated pod structures and revised project and workflow plans, as well as updated rosters and other key details, to the Project Team Director for approval before any in-person work will be allowed.

Pods will involve between two to eight students, based on guidance for specific work locations developed in conjunction with College of Engineering Facilities and Safety personnel. The Project Team Director will communicate updated details about workspaces directly to team leads and work with team leads to help define pods.

Lab access will be controlled and scheduled to limit the total density and to minimize interactions between pods from different teams.

Workflows should be adapted so that students can maintain 6’ distancing and limit the amount of time that students are within 6’ of each other.

All students working in the ELL, regardless of activity, will wear a face covering/mask.

All students will complete brief check-in/check-out surveys and each pod will record attendance for every in-person work session.

Student employees will be on duty during shifts to monitor compliance and help troubleshoot any issues that arise.

Clear expectations and escalating penalties (access loss) will be outlined.

What sanitation processes will be implemented in the ELL workspaces?  Will basic sanitation supplies be supplied to clean workspaces before and after a work session?

The ELL cleaning protocol developed and implemented during fall semester will be followed for all winter and spring work sessions. SARS-CoV-2 is a lipid enveloped virus and can be inactivated using many disinfectants from the list Products Registered in New York for Use Against COVID-19. Project team students will be responsible for cleaning at the beginning and end of each work shift. Work should conclude at least 30 minutes before the end of each scheduled shift to allow time for cleaning. Appropriate disinfectants, supplies, and instructions will be provided and clearly labeled in each defined work area.

When will students have access to the ELL? What will ELL operating hours look like for winter and spring?

The ELL will open for in-person project team work for a three-week winter fabrication session (“JanFab”) from Tuesday, January 19 through Friday, February 5, 2021 (see additional details, below). Spring semester in-person work will begin on Monday, February 8, 2021. As in fall semester, work in the ELL will be scheduled in “shifts”. There will be three four-hour shifts per day: 8:00am-12:00pm, 1:00-5:00pm, and 6:00-10:00pm. One pod per work area will be scheduled during each shift. Students may only access the ELL during assigned shifts or with explicit permission from the Project Teams Director. Students will not be allowed in the ELL outside of operating hours. Compliance and impact of this model will be monitored and adjusted as needed based on the public health situation and evolving university rules and guidance.

How will in-person work change if the Cornell COVID-19 Alert Level changes?

The university, in partnership with the Tompkins County Health Department and Cayuga Health System, is monitoring a variety of indicators to determine what actions may need to be taken should conditions change. These changes are being communicated to the campus community using a series of color-coded COVID-19 Alert Levels. All plans outlined for project team operations are for alert level GREEN.

If the COVID-19 Alert Level remains GREEN project team operations may continue as outlined.

If the COVID-19 Alert Level increases to YELLOW project team operations may continue as outlined, however, densities for in-person work may be decreased. The Project Team Director will share Green level and Yellow level densities for all ELL work spaces directly with team leads.

If the COVID-19 Alert Level increases to ORANGE in-person project team work will likely be prohibited, based on university guidance.

If the COVID-19 Alert Level increases to RED all in-person project team work will cease; only virtual activities will be allowed.

Will project teams have access to the Emerson Machine Shop and Rapid Prototyping Lab?

Yes, the Emerson Machine Shop and Rapid Prototyping Lab will be available to project teams during JanFab and spring 2021. A shift schedule, with defined pods, will be used to determine access to the Emerson Machine Shop. All safety and usage guidelines from fall semester will remain in place. Additional information about machine shop and RPL access during spring semester will be communicated with team leads via the Team Leads Canvas page. 

Will project teams have access to the Digital Design and Fabrication Studio?

Yes, the Digital Design and Fabrication Studio will be available to provide support to project teams at a similar level as in previous terms. All requests for appointments or projects must be submitted via the website. Consultation meetings will be conducted virtually (typically via Zoom).

How will campus workspaces be booked/reserved (especially to ensure equitable access)?

ELL, HVL, Emerson Machine Shop: The same scheduling system that was used during fall semester, coordinated by a TA with oversight from Project Team Administration, will be used during winter and spring.  

Other campus labs: The Project Team Director will continue to coordinate with College and Department leadership for teams that typically work in other labs across campus.

Will project team students have remote access to campus computer labs?

Yes, project teams will continue to have remote access to most software via Apps on Demand. Students can self-enroll in the Canvas course "MAE Software Access". If students enrolled in this course in the spring they will have continued access, if not, they can self-enroll for fall. This course has an option called Apps on Demand which enables students to run CES, CAD software (Solidworks, Inventor, Fusion), ANSYS and MATLAB remotely in a web browser.  Clicking on the Apps on Demand option -- in the menu items on the left -- opens a browser tab with available software applications listed. Clicking on say, Solidworks, will open Solidworks, etc. Users need to save all data on their Google drive. A video demonstration of this process is available within the course.  Please direct any questions or concerns to Dr. Bhaskaran (bhaskaran@cornell.edu).

Will project team students have access to the Swanson computer lab?

Swanson Lab occupancy is limited to 4 people at any time to prevent the spread of Covid-19. You can look inside the lab through the glass wall to determine the number of people already in the room. Please be sure to maintain at least 6’ distancing from others and wear a face mask. Computers 17, 20, 23 & 26 are marked for in-person use. Log out of the computer when you leave the lab. The other computers are available for remote use. Contact Dr. Bhaskaran (bhaskaran@cornell.edu) to request remote access or with questions/concerns.

Will the project team van be available for use? What about Fleet rental vehicles?

Yes, the project team van and fleet rental vehicles will be available for use, with modified rules about vehicle occupancy and cleaning protocols in place to ensure health and safety.

Per Fleet guidance, single person vehicle occupancy is encouraged whenever possible and practical. Vehicle occupancy shall not exceed 50% (rounded up) of seating capacity (w/seat belts), e.g. a van has total of 12 seats and therefore could have up to 6 persons, a single cab truck has a total of 3 seats and therefore could have up to 2 persons. When multiple people are in a vehicle, all occupants shall wear a face covering, the vehicle’s cooling and heating system should be set to non-recirculating, and windows should be open whenever possible to increase fresh air exchange.

All usage of a shared vehicle should be recorded via team attendance records, the same as in-person work sessions.

After use, the vehicle’s high touch surfaces (steering wheels, door handle, etc.)  must be cleaned to remove accumulated dirt and debris. Following the initial cleaning, disinfectant wipes, or spray and disposable towels must be used to disinfect high-touch points. All keys and key ring must be sanitized prior to return. Appropriate signage to communicate exposure prevention instructions must be visible within the vehicle.  Expectations are communicated in vehicle via signage. 

See https://fcs.cornell.edu/covidfleetpolicy for additional information.

Will the winter fabrication session (“JanFab”) happen in 2021?

Yes, “JanFab” has been approved, with modifications, for 2021. See the “Winter Fabrication Session” section below for additional details.

Winter Fabrication Session ("JanFab")

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Will the winter fabrication session (“JanFab”) happen in 2021?

Yes, “JanFab” has been approved with modifications, for 2021.

What is “JanFab”?

JanFab is an OPTIONAL winter session for project team students to complete build activities, fabrication, and manufacturing. This time period allows project team students to complete build activities without other class commitments or scheduling constraints, prior to the start of spring semester.

What are the dates for JanFab 2021?

JanFab will be offered with modifications in 2021. It will begin with a kick-off session on Sunday, January 17, 2021. In-person work will begin on Tuesday, January 19, and run through Friday, February 5. Saturday, February 6 and Sunday, February 7, will be reserved for clean-up activities.

Who can participate? What do students need to do to participate in JanFab?

All project team members on approved pods may participate in JanFab. Students must have completed safety training and must comply with all university requirements to be in the Daily Check system and approved for campus access. Students traveling back to Ithaca will follow all quarantine and surveillance testing requirements.

Can students living on-campus in spring 2021 participate in JanFab?

Yes, students planning to live on-campus during spring 2021 may return early to participate in JanFab. Early campus move-in will be available beginning on January 20, 2021. All students will need to follow the NYS travel guidelines and university testing and quarantine requirements. The Project Team Director will work directly with team leads and Cornell Housing to coordinate.

What do teams need to provide for approval to participate in JanFab?

Team Leads will submit a list of all students returning to participate in JanFab by midnight on Sunday, January 3, 2021. The Project Team Director will provide a template. This list will include the following information for each student: name, NetID, location from which they are traveling back to Ithaca, planned return date, living on- or off-campus.

Team Leads will submit their proposed pod structures and revised/updated work plans by midnight on Sunday, January 10, 2021, using the same template provided in the fall.

Both documents will be uploaded to a specified Box folder using a direct-upload email provided by Project Team Administration. Review and approval of all provided information by the Project Team Director is required before any in-person work can begin.

When will students have access to the ELL during JanFab?

Work in the ELL will be scheduled in “shifts”. There will be three four-hour shifts per day: 8:00am-12:00pm, 1:00-5:00pm, and 6:00-10:00pm. One pod per work area will be scheduled during each shift. Students may only access the ELL during assigned shifts, or with explicit permission from the Project Teams Director. Students will not be allowed in the ELL outside of operating hours. Compliance and impact of this model will be monitored and adjusted as needed based on the public health situation and evolving university rules and guidance.

Will project teams have access to the Emerson Machine Shop during JanFab?

The Emerson Machine Shop will be available exclusively for project team use during JanFab. A shift schedule, with defined pods, will be used to determine access. All safety and usage guidelines from fall semester will remain in place.  

How will workspaces be scheduled?

ELL and Emerson Machine Shop: The same scheduling system that was used during fall semester, coordinated by a TA with oversight from Project Team Administration, will be used during JanFab. 

Other campus labs: The Project Team Director will continue to coordinate with College and Department leadership for teams that typically work in other labs across campus.

What rules and safety precautions will be in place for working in the ELL during JanFab?

The same rules and safety precautions implemented in the fall, and in place for spring, will apply during JanFab. This will include pods working in shifts, cleaning protocols, check-in and check-out procedures, and attendance tracking by each pod. Additionally, student employees will be on duty during shifts to monitor compliance and help troubleshoot any issues that arise.

Recruitment

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Can freshmen join teams in the spring?

Yes, freshmen can join project teams in the spring. Freshmen opting to participate in a team for credit will enroll in ENGRG 1400 (1-3 credits) for spring semester. Optional training and introductory activities may be offered during winter session.

Can teams recruit new members in the spring?

Yes, teams may recruit new members from any class during spring semester. Students opting to earn credit for their project team work must enroll in the appropriate course by the late add deadline (5 weeks into the semester, approx.. March 15, 2020 – confirmation of this date, and reminders, will be sent). Petitions for late adds after this deadline will not be approved.

How will information sessions work?

All info sessions and outreach will be conducted virtually. Teams may use Zoom or other platforms to host virtual information sessions and should plan to leverage campus technology and support. Teams should take access considerations into account (not all students will be in the same time zone, class schedules may be more complicated) when planning info sessions to ensure equity.

What steps will be taken to ensure recruitment happens both in and out of CoE (e.g. business subteams)?

The Project Team Director will work with team leads to identify creative solutions for showcasing team activities. Info sessions will be “advertised” widely via listservs and campus administrators. Campus partners are available to help spread the word as needed.

Travel

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What are the guidelines for team travel in spring 2021?

All Cornell-related travel by faculty, staff and students is restricted at this time. All undergraduate students are prohibited from traveling for Cornell-related research or scholarship until further notice. Project team travel is considered official Cornell-related travel and is therefore currently prohibited for spring 2021. Students on the Ithaca campus are also asked to avoid all non-essential personal travel out of the region during the spring semester.

Will domestic travel be permitted during the academic year?

Project team travel is currently prohibited for spring 2021. Decisions regarding Cornell travel will be informed by relevant university committees and state and federal guidance. The Project Team Director will provide any updates about changes to travel guidance for project team activities as they become available.

Will travel (domestic or international) be allowed during summer 2021?

Project team travel remains prohibited at this time. Decisions regarding Cornell travel will be informed by relevant university committees and state and federal guidance. The Project Team Director will provide any updates about changes to travel guidance for project team activities as they become available.

Funding

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What changes can we expect from Cornell's contributions to our teams?

Initial College funding was awarded early in the fall semester for project costs. The Project Team Director will review spending and project plans with teams leads during January and February, and additional funding may be awarded depending on need and changes to travel guidance.

Is there any anticipated shift in fundraising rules for teams during the pandemic?

Fundraising and stewardship will continue to be incredibly important to project teams! The Project Team Director is working closely with the College Alumni Affairs and Development team to support project team fundraising efforts. From past situations, such as the economic downturn in 2008-2009, we know that corporate giving may be decreased or eliminated in the coming year(s) – teams should be mindful that maintaining connections with corporate partners and sponsors is still important. Conversely, we often see that small, individual donations increase during times of economic disruption, as friends and alumni know that their contributions are more valuable than ever during these times.  

Will project teams be able to participate in Giving Day this spring?

Yes, Giving Day is planned for March 11, 2021. The Project Team Director will share additional information and updates from AAD as more information becomes available.