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Clear Bookbag Requirements and FAQs
Photo of clear bookbag(para traducir esta página al español, haga clic en "Traducir" en el parte superior de este página)

(Click here for printable PDF)


Beginning with the 2022-23 school year, all bookbags (backpacks) carried by students in grades 1-12 must be clear. Clear bookbags are optional for Pre-kindergarten and Kindergarten students this year. Students will carry their laptops in the school-issued, non-transparent laptop bag. RCPS will provide each student with one clear bookbag at the beginning of the school year. Students participating in an extracurricular activity are permitted to carry non-transparent bags to store items pertaining to their particular activity (i.e. band, athletics, etc.). Upon entry into the school, all extracurricular activity bags must be stored in lockers or designated areas. All bags are subject to search. Additionally, the maximum size for non-transparent bags that students will be permitted to carry during the school day, such as lunch kits, pencil bags and purses, will be 6” x 9”.

Photo of clear backpack. Image says Example of clear backpack.

•    When will the clear bookbags be distributed?
Due to supply chain delays and delivery to RCPS, the clear bookbags will be distributed after the Labor Day holiday. Students may use their own clear bookbag if it meets the specifications outlined in these FAQs. For more information, CLICK HERE.


•    What are the size specifications for the clear bookbag?
There are no size specifications for the clear bookbag.


•    Are mesh bookbags allowed?
No. Mesh bookbags are not allowed. Students are permitted to only use clear bookbags (see example).

Photo of mesh backpack crossed out. Mesh bookbags are not allowed.


•    Can the bookbag have mesh pockets?
Yes. Mesh side pockets are allowed on the bookbag (see example).

Photo example of clear backpack with mesh side pockets


•    Can the front pocket of the bookbags have a mesh organizer?
Yes. A mesh organizer inside the front pocket is allowed (see example).

Photo of clear bookbag with mesh organizer inside front pocket.


•    Will bookbags with padded backs be accepted?
No. Bookbags must have clear visibility through all dimensions excluding the bookbag bottom (see example).

Photo of clear bookbag with padded back. Backpack must have clear visibility through all dimensions excluding the bottom.


•    Are transparent colored bookbags allowed?
No. Colored, transparent bookbags are not allowed (see example). Only fully clear bookbags are permitted.

Photos of yellow-green and purple colored transparent bookbag crossed out.


•    Are stripes allowed on the bookbag?
No. Stripes in any location are not allowed on the bookbag (see example).

Photo of clear bookbag with stripes on the top, photo crossed out.


•    Can the bookbag have colored straps?
Yes. The bookbag may have colored straps (see example).

Photo of clear bookbags with colored straps. Colored strap backpacks ARE allowed.


•    Are leather reinforcements on the corners of the bookbags allowed?
Yes. Leather reinforcements on the corners are permitted (see example).

Clear bookbag with leather straps and leather reinforcements on corners.


•    Are company or trademark logos allowed on the front of the bookbag?
Yes. Small company and school logos are allowed (see example), but large logos, monograms or other visual design obstructions are not.

Photos of three clear bookbags with brand names printed on the front.


•    Will athletic/spirit bags and instrument cases, which are not clear, be allowed on campus?
Yes, however, these bags must be stored as soon as the student arrives at school. They must be placed in lockers or secured in fine arts classrooms or athletic locker rooms as designated by school instructors.


•    Are lunch kits permitted?
Yes. Non-transparent lunch kits no larger than approximately 6” x 9” x 5” (see examples) are permitted to be carried.

Illustration of a lunch box or lunch kit measuring 6 inches tall by 9 inches wide by 5 inches deep and Illustration of a lunch bag measuring 9 inches tall by 6 inches wide by 5 inches deep.


•    Can multiple 6” x 9” bags be carried in schools?
Yes. Students must limit non-transparent 6” x 9” bags (lunch kits, purses, pouches) to two bags (see examples), regardless of whether they are carried inside or outside the backpack.

Illustration of a purse measuring 6 inches tall by 9 inches wide and a purse measuring 9 inches tall by 6 inches wide by 5 inches deep and a lunch box or lunch kit measuring 6 inches tall by 9 inches wide by 5 inches deep.


•    Are clear totes, clear purses and transparent plastic bags allowed?
Yes. Clear totes, purses and bags are allowed (see examples).

Photo of clear totebag with red straps and clear purse with red straps and clear zip lock bags.


•    Can I line the inside of the bookbag?
No. Fabric, wallpaper or any other material that conceals the contents of the bookbag is not permitted.



•    Where do I purchase a clear bookbag?
RCPS will provide one clear bookbag to each student at the beginning of the school year. Replacements will be the responsibility of each parent/guardian. All clear bookbags individually purchased for a replacement must be within the specifications outlined in this FAQ.


•     Is there a health concern related to carrying clear bookbags (exposure to plastic)?
No. According to current United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) research, chemicals released by plastic bookbags / backpacks are not stored in the human body, so routine, low level exposures like touching plastic products or breathing indoor air are unlikely to cause toxicity or disease. Additional information can be found on the CDC/ATSDR website, https://www.cdc.gov/biomonitoring/Phthalates_FactSheet.html.


•    Is this an invasion of privacy?
We understand the concern regarding the privacy of certain items contained within bookbags. Students will be permitted to carry such items in a small makeup pouch or purse within the bookbag. Any non-transparent pouch, purse, or lunch kit should be no larger than approximately 6” x 9” x 5”.