Community Issues

Teacher's Brilliant Hand-Washing Hack Keeps Germs Away

With the threat of coronavirus on everyone's minds, she came up with a genius way to keep her students' hands clean.


As concerns about the Coronavirus continue to grow, health professionals worldwide are telling people that the most important thing they can do to stop the spread of the disease is to wash their hands.

One teacher in Missouri has taken that advice to heart and has come up with a clever way to keep her students scrubbing.

Shauna Woods has been a third-grade teacher at Hallsville Schools for 8 years. She's seen how the spread of viruses like the flu can affect students and keep them home for days at a time.

Mrs. Woods has now been a teacher at Hallsville Schools for 10 years. Mrs. Woods 3rd Grade

"It's a fact of life that many kids are in close corners, interacting with one another all day," Woods told Good Morning America. "They share many things, including germs."

Woods has always encouraged her students to wash their hands – there's even a sink stocked with soap, hand sanitizer and paper towels in her classroom. But with the looming threat of the coronavirus, she's decided to step up her class' personal hygiene routine.

Woods came up with the idea of using an ink stamp on her students' hands in the morning. If the stamp is gone by the end of the day, they win a prize.

"I've had a 'Mrs. Woods' stamp for years and have used it to stamp my classroom books," Woods said. "I decided to grab that on a Monday morning, told students to wash their hands in the classroom sink and then come see their teacher -- this was their morning work as we call it. I put the stamp on their hands, and they were sold when I told them prizes were involved."

Woods came up with the idea to stamp her students' hands and give a prize to those who wash the stamp away by the end of the day. Mrs. Woods 3rd Grade

After an initial "training day" where the students excitedly scrubbed the stamp away within minutes, Woods simply made it part of their morning routine. As the students got used to the new procedure, they went about their lessons as normal – just with a lot of hand-washing breaks in between.

If the stamps are gone or faded at the end of the day, Woods keeps her word and gives them their prize.

Woods says the stamp method has been a "great motivator" for her students, and if it gets them to wash their hands more, it's a win-win.

"Let's be honest, some student's biggest worry is if they'll get to recess on time," Woods said.

"Providing a visual reminder and incentive has boosted their hygiene regimen."

When Woods shared her new method in a Facebook post, people from all over the country chimed in about how brilliant it was – although some expressed concerns that using the same stamp over and over again could further spread germs.

"Cute idea," Cheryl Bright wrote. "Anything to get kids thinking about really washing. You can always talk about the differences in skin with the ink...teachable moment!"

"If I was a student, I'd be washing my hands just so I could get the prize every day! Kudos to Mrs. Woods for thinking outside of the box!" Max Long commented.

What an awesome way to encourage better personal hygiene in the classroom, while reducing the spread of germs. Hopefully other schools will take Mrs. Woods' lead and get their students into the scrubbing spirit.

How can you start something good?

Here are a few tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to protect yourself from exposure to the coronavirus:

Clean your hands often!

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid close contact.

Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

Click here for more handwashing tips.

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