You asked if there were "shovels in the ground", not "are they building subway stations". I gave you the correct, factual answer, which is "yes" -- there are actual, literal shovels in the actual, literal ground, today, on February 18, 2020. Head on over to the site at Cherry just south of the loop right now if you want to go see.So, no.
Drilling and survey work is not the same as construction. If they are not moving utilities or actually digging the tunnels or the station boxes, construction has not begun in my books.
Even in the prior Relief Line project, we wouldn't be anywhere near the tunneling or station building phase. Still lots to do before any of that can happen, no matter what the configuration is.
And frankly, I'd be more concerned with questions around how the line is going to cross the Don River twice, and whether or not it's feasible to safely run the proposed 100m x 3m subway trains overground in the middle of Overlea Drive, than whether or not they're digging holes for subway stations!