In her eight years of teaching, Shauna Woods has seen lots of illnesses spread through her classroom.
"I began to think of something that I could put on their hands that they would have to wash off," Woods, who teaches at Hallsville Public School in Hallsville, Missouri, told TODAY Parents. "On a Monday morning, I saw my 'Mrs. Woods' stamp sitting there and I told my students to wash their hands in the classroom sink and then see Mrs. Woods for a stamp."
In a now viral Facebook post, Woods shares her idea: Giving each student who washes their stamp off by the end of the school day a prize.
"We are doing our best in room 550 to keep the germs away," Woods wrote in her post. "We are trying."
Woods told her students their goal was to wash their hands more frequently to make their stamp fade or disappear by the end of the day.
"We discussed how to properly wash their hands and I told them they would earn a prize if their stamp was faded or disappeared altogether," said Woods. "Day one was training day, as students were motivated to wash that stamp off or rub it off right away. Once we set clear expectations, students have asked for a stamp every day and know how to properly wash their hands. We've started a trend for the school and now, after going viral, the nation."
Kids who achieve their hand-washing goals are rewarded with prizes ranging from leftover Valentine's Day candy to reward tickets used by the entire school.
News outlets, other students and even a local radio station have accepted Mrs. Woods' hand-washing challenge. And Mrs. Woods herself has gotten in on the fun.
"I stamped my own hand to be their role model," she said. "Even as an adult, seeing that stamp on my hand has been a visual reminder for me to wash my hands more frequently to stay healthy and germ-free.
"Ultimately, we would like for general hygiene, specifically hand washing, to become second nature to them," Woods added. "For now, we will continue the challenge within our daily procedures."