After 1 Child Tested Positive for COVID-19, Kountry Tyme Academy Daycare Prepares to Re-Open Monday


SAN ANGELO, TX — When the Kountry Tyme Academy, a daycare facility at 3866 W Houston Harte Expy in San Angelo, shut down due to one case reported there of COVID-19, no one was more worried than the owners, Dorie and Galen Lowrance. San Angelo news station KLST trumpeted the news. “Child tests positive for COVID-19 who attended Kountry Tyme Academy daycare,” screamed its headlines. But before the local TV news jumped on the story, we were receiving messages and phone calls from readers concerned about their children who were cared for there. Citizens were concerned.

We also reported the closure of the daycare.

Daycares in Texas are considered essential businesses. Single parents and families where both parents still have to work need somewhere to take their children during work hours. The Texas Workforce Commission has continued its programs to subsidize daycare costs for economically disadvantaged workers who need daycare, especially for workers employed at essential businesses. An outbreak at a daycare is a valid concern to the public.

When we ran the initial story, the co-owner of Kountry Tyme Academy called after hours and threatened us with a lawsuit.

“If you’re going to post false statements about us and against us, my attorneys are going to be in touch,” said Galen Lowrance. Listen to the entire voice message here:

Here is our story announcing the closure.

We attempted to contact Mr. Lowrance twice after he left his message by calling his cell phone as provided by the caller ID of his phone call. He has so far refused to answer or return our calls.

We were able to obtain a statement via an email the daycare facility’s owners sent to a reporter at a competitor. The email was signed by Galen and his wife Dorie. In the statement, the couple outlined the steps taken since the they learned one child at their daycare had contracted COVID-19.

The Lowrances said on April 8 they received a call from a parent informing them that the parent’s child had tested positive for COVID-19. The child’s last day at the daycare was five days prior on April 3.

Not knowing there was even a suspicion of the coronavirus spreading at their daycare, the Lowrances said they had thoroughly cleaned the facility as was the routine April 4 after hours.

The news of the outbreak, coupled the concerns of parents and the Lowrance’s own concerns, led the owners to close the daycare April 9. On April 10, the Lowrances said all staff and themselves were tested. Some of the parents also tested for COVID-19, they said.

The test results took two days, and on April 12, the Lowrances said all tests returned negative.

On April 13, the Lowrances said they went back into the daycare facility and deep cleaned. The couple sought outside help for disinfecting the facility from San Angelo’s House of Chemicals.

“Want to give a shout to House of Chemicals. They gave us [a] machine to sanitize the building for free. [We] Already had the chemicals, which we spray everyday over everything. But during this time [getting help] for free is great. Shows us how they want to help. Thank you, House of Chemicals,” the couple posted on their Facebook page.

In the middle this past week, the couple announced that Kountry Tyme Academy will re-open Monday, April 20.

Brian Groves, spokesman for the City of San Angelo, said the City did not order the daycare facility to close. Regulating daycares is handled at the state level by the Texas Department of Health and Human Services, he said. He denied there was any City legal action and suggested the couple may have performed the mitigation at their own will.

The sensitivity of news of a COVID-19 infection at a facility that cares for children could be devastating to the Lowrance’s small business and livelihood. On the other hand, the couple pointed out that suspected outbreaks at large big box retailers may be suppressed.

“If this were to happen at Walmart or H-E-B, which it has, they wouldn’t shut it down, [they’d] just deep clean and open up the next day,” they said.

The child who tested positive April 3 is doing well, they said. They have been in touch with the parent. In the San Angelo region, there are currently no hospitalizations due to the coronavirus.

“Our staff and the owners are ready to be open. We will be April 20,” the Lowrances stated.

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These cases aren't adding up to the total. One child and some of the parents. Some would have to be more than 3, because 3 is a few. 4? 4+1=5. Go through the list they're giving out and see who all fits the parameters of these specific cases they're telling us about. I know yall think people dont pay attention, but I do.

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