Project Team FAQs - Summer 2021

Frequently Asked Questions: Summer 2021

Last updated: May 20, 2021

Cornell Engineering Student Project Teams


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How are Cornell COVID policies changing this summer?

Beginning on June 1, Cornell will look to more closely align Covid-19 precautionary practices to those required by New York State (NYS) although there are some instances where Cornell will employ precautions beyond what NYS requires.  Below is a summary of the practices Cornell will follow this summer for enrolled students and affiliates (participants).

  • General public health guidance will be updated as needed.  All individuals on the Cornell campus are still required to wear a mask indoors and maintain 6-foot physical distance with others, regardless of vaccination status. Current guidance regarding masks, distancing, and gatherings can be found here.  
  • Prior to arrival participants must complete the Summer Checklist.
  • Participants will sign a summer behavioral compact agreeing to follow Cornell guidelines.  The summer behavioral compact will be shared with participants as part of the summer checklist.
  • Upon arrival, participants must do one of the following:
    • Provide proof of being fully vaccinated (14-days from final dose of vaccine) with a US-approved vaccine;
    • Provide proof of being fully recovered from COVID-19 within the past 90 days;
    • Provide a negative PCR COVID-19 test result(s) taken no sooner than 72 hours prior to arrival;
    • Complete an arrival COVID-19 test at Cornell (the Cayuga Medical Center sites are NOT appropriate for this process).
  • Daily Check will continue. Participants who will be on campus or engaging in a Cornell activity off campus must complete the Daily Check. 
  • While at Cornell, participants will be required to participate in surveillance testing. This will be assigned by the Daily Check.
  • Travel away from Ithaca no longer requires approval but participants may need to inform Cornell when they travel so that surveillance testing can be paused.  Unvaccinated participants will be required to test for Covid-19 upon return from travel but are not subject to quarantine. 
  • Mandatory quarantine will remain in effect for unvaccinated participants who are deemed to be a close contact. Mandatory isolation will remain in effect for any participant who tests positive.  Quarantine and isolation will be provided for participants who are living on-campus this summer. Students living off-campus will be asked to quarantine or isolate in place. 

How will compliance with university policies be monitored?

Project Team Administration will work directly with the university to monitor compliance with all policies. Project Team staff will confirm that all participants have completed the Summer Checklist prior to arrival and that all participants comply with arrival requirements.


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How will project teams operate in summer 2021?

Cornell Engineering Student Project Teams will continue in modified modes in summer 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 and spring 2021 with administrative oversight and reasonable controls. Project Teams that plan to have members work on-campus during the summer will coordinate directly with the Project Team Director to submit necessary information for approval.

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

Meetings of 30 people or less will be allowed, in alignment with university policies. Because group activities may include both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, all participants are required to wear a mask regardless of their vaccination status. Registration, including attendance, is required for the purposes of contact tracing. Teams should continue to take access considerations into account and offer virtual/hybrid meeting options leveraging campus technology and support.  


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Will teams be allowed to work in person this summer?

The university has approved plans for project team on-campus work over the summer. Teams will work with the Project Team Director for approval of all hands-on activities (manufacturing, fabrication, etc.).  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?

Hands-on work during the summer will draw on best practices and lessons learned from successful operations during the 2020-2021 academic year. Requirements will be adjusted slightly to align with updated guidance from the university and NYS.

Team leads (or a designated summer point person) will submit 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.

Lab access will be controlled and scheduled so that only approved participants, who are in compliance with all university policies, have access.

Workflows will 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 or vaccination status, will wear a face covering/mask.

All students will complete brief check-in/check-out surveys and each team will record attendancefor every in-person work session.

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 the 2020-2021 academic year will be followed for all summer 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. 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 the summer?

The ELL will open for in-person project team work on Monday, June 7, 2021. The ELL will be open daily from 8:00am – midnight. Students will not be allowed in the ELL outside of operating hours. Access will be adjusted as needed based on the public health situation and evolving university and NYS 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.

What happens if a project team student tests positive for COVID-19 or is identified as a “close contact” of someone who tests positive?

Students who test positive for COVID-19 – through arrival / surveillance testing or through diagnostic testing at Cornell Health – are placed under the care of Cornell Health and the Tompkins County Health Department (TCHD). The TCHD monitors all positive COVID-19 cases in the county, including assessing isolation housing needs and conducting contact tracing. Cornell Health works closely with the TCHD, as well as with campus partners, to provide care and support for students with COVID-19.

Project Team students who need to quarantine or isolate due to a positive test or contact tracing may be able to participate in team activities remotely. Team leads have been encouraged to leverage campus technologies to support virtual participation.

If a project team student who has worked in person in the ELL  tests positive for COVID-19, in person activities in the ELL will cease for 24 hours to ensure that proper contact tracing and additional disinfecting can occur. The ELL will re-open for in person project team activities based on guidance from the University and the TCHD.

Will project teams have access to the Emerson Machine Shop?

Yes, the Emerson Machine Shop will be available to project teams during summer 2021. Additional information about machine shop access during the summer will be communicated with summer participants directly. 

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. 

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